In 2008, Yale-New Haven Stroke Center established Connecticut's first telemedicine — or telestroke program. Under the leadership of Joseph Schindler, MD, neurologists use a video and image-sharing telecommunications system to provide acute stroke care consultative services to outlying hospitals when patients present with acute stroke symptoms. Within minutes of making an initial call to Yale's telestroke network, the on-call neurologist can examine a patient at the remote hospital to help diagnose and make recommendations for treatment. This service offers selected patients the opportunity for treatment with IV tPA and for transfer to YNHH for neuro-interventional procedures.
YNHH has partnered with Lawrence and Memorial Hospital (New London, CT), Sharon Hospital (Sharon, CT) and Griffin Hospital (Derby, CT) to deliver acute stroke consultative services on a 24/7 basis. In addition, monthly teleconferencing meetings are held to review cases and to stay updated on the latest research and evidence-based guidelines for acute stroke care. Hospitals within the telestroke network are certified as Primary Stroke Centers by either the CT Department of Health and/or the Joint Commission.
Telestroke programs throughout the country have demonstrated that telemedicine conferencing between outlying hospitals and trained stroke neurologists can enhance the use of tPA at hospitals that do not have on-site neurologists 24/7. Data analyzed from services rendered to our remote hospital showed a 90% increase in the rate of IV tPA administration and a reduction in the rate of symptomatic hemorrhage when comparing services pre and post telestroke (International Stroke Conference 2011).
Telestroke impact on patient care
A Stroke Story: David Schrage, a physically fit, 51-year-old tri-athlete, suffered a devastating stroke one afternoon at the office. Through video communication, drug therapy and cutting-edge neurosurgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Schrage was on the road to recovery within days (click to watch video).