By Laura Meehan
For the Hollywood Star News, June, 2010
The technology is in place. The stroke experts are ready. Providence Telestroke Network is up and running between Portland and Providence Seaside Hospital. By May 6, it will reach into southern Oregon, connecting to Providence Medford Medical Center.
The network allows Portland-based neurologists to diagnose and treat stroke patients as soon as they arrive at Providence Telestroke Network hospitals. From Portland, using two-way video cameras over a secure Internet connection, Providence Stroke Center neurologists will be able to review patient information and examine and talk with patients, family members and clinicians to determine the best course of treatment.
“Hospitals in Oregon’s small and medium-sized communities such as Seaside and Medford do not have neurologists who can staff the emergency department around the clock,” says Bonnie W. Smith, administrator, Providence Brain Institute. “The Telestroke Network allows those hospitals immediate access to experienced Providence stroke neurologists, who are available to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
Nicholas Okon, D.O., medical leader, Providence Stroke Center, says the Telestroke Network will dramatically improve the treatment and outcomes for stroke patients in rural communities. “Once a patient has a stroke, every second counts. If we can share our expertise in real time to ensure immediate diagnosis and treatment, we may be able to prevent the debilitating effects of a stroke,” he says.
Providence Telestroke Network, the first in the state, is especially important in Oregon. For unknown reasons, residents here are at higher risk for stroke mortality than people living in most other states. Oregon has the fifth highest stroke death rate in the country.
Providence Stroke Center is a nationally certified Primary Stroke Center. The Providence stroke team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventionalists, radiologists, nurses and therapists who work to quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain.
In the coming weeks, Providence Brain Institute expects to announce Telestroke Network links to additional communities in Oregon. For more information, visit providence.org/brain.