telestroke (telestroke services)

Telestroke, also called telestroke services, is an approach to treating vascular strokes that allows a neurologist to provide remote treatment for a stroke victim. A telestroke service, which is a sub-category of telemedicine, is often used for medical consultations in rural areas.

In its most basic form, a telestroke system requires a neurologist and attending nurse to have a high-speed Internet connection and videoconferencing capabilities on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. The goal is for the consulting neurologist to be able to talk to the patient about what symptoms the patient experienced, evaluate the patient's motor skills, view a computed tomography (CT) scan, make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States and time is very important when treating a strokes. A victim who is treated within three hours of a stroke has a significantly lower risk of permanent brain damage or death than one who waits for treatment.

Telestroke services are often delivered through a subscription business model in which a larger urban facility offers its services to a group of smaller hospitals and private physician offices. Typically, the larger facility provides 24-hour neurology consultation and remote treatment of stroke patients, including follow-up care.

This was last updated in June 2011

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