Ojai, CA-PressReleasePoint - In healthcare today, we face a changing landscape of national health policy, increasing patient needs and physician shortages. Providers want efficient and effective solutions and are increasingly turning to telemedicine technologies for answers. Remote physician presence using telemedicine technologies leverages the availability of limited resources and ensures that care is available when and where it is needed.
One particularly innovative application provides neurointensivist support and neurologic coverage for hospital emergency departments, especially among those designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission. There are only 215 Board Certified neurointensivists in the United States, thus the leveraging of this limited resource is necessary.
According to Dr. Herb Rogove, President and CEO of C3O Medical Group, one remote telemedicine physician program in Southern California has demonstrated more rapid patient access to neurological care, better compliance with guidelines and improvement in national quality standards. This is according to results presented at the American Telemedicine Association's 2011 Annual Meeting during a panel on physician compliance and quality metrics.
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The team of three remote vascular neurologists, who are also board-certified in neurocritical care, treated 129 patients over nine months. During this period, the response time for the off-site physicians was 21.8 minutes compared to greater than one hour for local neurologists to physically arrive at the facility. The remote physicians attained a significant increase in compliance with Joint Commission metrics related to blood clot prevention, clot dissolving medications, cholesterol lowering medications, and stroke education. However, during the course of the following year compliance by the local neurologist was significantly improved, attributable to the standard set by the telemedicine neurolcritical care physicians, as well as, the fact that outcome data was shared between both groups.
Physicians are open to new approaches and solutions to the challenges they face on a daily basis. For example, emergency department physicians are too often frustrated because they believe more stroke patients should receive the clot-busting drug t-PA. However, local neurologists are not always available for emergency consultations and identification of appropriate candidates. Once this hospital started their telemedicine program, they realized an increase in utilization of t-PA, as well complex diagnoses and treatment for patients with neurological emergencies.