When you are responsible for real-time diagnosis and treatment recommendations for patients across multiple organizations and geographic areas—as is the case in telestroke care—fast, efficient medical image exchange is not just a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have. Life Image provides fast, flexible, web-based access to incoming exams to make the most out of remote consults and ensure close collaboration in stroke management.
Telestroke and Image Sharing
Patients who receive tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) within 90 minutes of symptom onset are almost three times as likely to have favorable outcomes three months after a stroke than those who do not receive tPA*.
For a patient experiencing a stroke, even a short period can represent the potential for irreparable damage. However, about one-third of Americans live more than an hour from a primary stroke center.1 Additionally, research shows that there are only four neurologists per 100,000 persons in the U.S.,2 meaning that many patients that present at a hospital with a stroke will not have a neurologist on-site to provide consult. These statistics underscore the need for neurologists to spend their time as efficiently as possible.
Enter telestroke care, which through a variety of technologies—digital video cameras, Internet telecommunications, robotic telepresence, smartphones, and tablets—is able to put a neurologist at the bedside of a stroke patient when it’s needed most. However, if access to imaging is delayed, ED teams are delayed in following corresponding stroke protocols—which differ, for example, based on whether the stroke is hemorrhagic or ischemic, and severity. Additionally, if a remote neurologist can not easily access past or current imaging exams to make informed decisions about the course of care, valuable time is wasted, increasing the risk of long-term disability for that patient.
Why Is This a Challenge?
The simple answer is disparate systems and lack of interoperability. Telestroke hubs are being bombarded by images in different formats from a variety of sources, from community hospitals to pre-hospital, emergent care. In a worst-case scenario, the image may be housed on a CD and completely unavailable. Without a common platform, collaboration with providers at outlying hospitals on stroke management becomes difficult, if not impossible.
Streamline Collaboration on Telestroke Cases
The Life Image medical image exchange platform enables easy collaboration with community hospitals and trauma teams on telestroke cases, without relying on a VPN connection. Outside care providers need quick access to neurosurgical and other specialists when patients present in rural or community settings with signs of a stroke.
With Life Image, physicians can use the network to instantly share exams from anywhere. They do not need to have pre-installed hardware or software, or even an existingLife Image account, to securely send studies and transferred exams can be stored locally according to each practice’s protocols. Consulting providers can review images quickly, wherever they are, without having to wait for them to download. This can save precious minutes when others are waiting for expert guidance.
Keeping Care in the Community
For some patients, it may be appropriate to receive care in a community versus higher-acuity setting. With early and reliable access to exams, hospitals can:
Make recommendations more confidently
Enable specialists to more confidently recommend patients not be transferred.
Allocate resources at the stroke center for critical, high-need patients.
Collaborating between specialists and providers
Ensure ongoing collaboration between specialists and community providers over the course of care, especially if the patient’s condition changes.
1 Adeoye O,. et al. Geographic Access to Acute Stroke Care in the United States. Stroke. 2014; 45. Published online Aug. 26, 2014.
2 Freeman, WD., et al. The workforce task force report clinical implications for neurology. Neurology.2013.81.5: 479-486.
* Lattimore SU, et. al. Impact of establishing a primary stroke center at a community hospital on the use of thrombolytic therapy: the NINDS Suburban Hospital Stroke Center experience. Stroke. 2003; 34: 55-57.