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GCI ConnectMD Links Swedish Medical Center Neuroscience Stroke Specialists and Patients Throughout Washington State to Swedish's Joint Commission Certified Primary Stroke Center

Innovators in Video Conferencing Based Programs, GCI Expands Telemedicine Facilitation Efforts Helping to Improve Health Care and Reduce Cost through Hub and Spoke Model

Seattle, WA (PRWEB) October 28, 2009 -- GCI ConnectMD, innovators of the largest secure medical network in the Pacific Northwest connecting over 200 clinics, hospitals, and medical organizations, have partnered with Swedish Medical Center to enable components of the "virtual" bedside neurological evaluations for patients in hospitals throughout Washington State. The Swedish Acute TeleStroke Program bolsters remote hospitals' stroke support services through 24/7 access to Swedish's nationally-recognized stroke team experts via real-time, telemedicine-based technology.

"GCI ConnectMD helps improve medical outcomes by strengthening access to and quality of health care through reliable and affordable telemedicine services," said Steve Constantine, Director of GCI Medical and Video Services. "In this case, we are helping Swedish's Acute TeleStroke Program realize the maximum potential by closing the gap on those who have had to sacrifice urgent stroke diagnosis and treatment due to geographical distance and those who reap the benefits of living in urban areas with close proximity to stroke specialists within the time sensitive protocol for stroke care."

Through GCIConnect MDs secure medical network, a link between the contracted remote emergency rooms and the comprehensive team of stroke team neurologists based at the Swedish/Cherry Hill campus in Seattle is completed, providing the infrastructure for the Swedish Stroke Team to view the brain images for Telestroke cases, a vital component of an acute Telestroke encounter.

"Even in non-life-threatening situations, the technological connections provided by GCI ConnectMD are crucial," said Tammy Cress, RN MSN FAHA, Director of Telehealth at Swedish Medical Center. "With the push of a button emergency room personnel in partner hospitals can transmit CT scans and other diagnostic tests through our network and have instant access to the region's highest medical talent. In other words, these virtual consultations help mitigate any neurologic damage that might have been suffered during the stroke."

Working very closely with Swedish Medical Center hospital IT experts, GCI ConnectMD has helped to facilitate the operation of the Swedish TeleStroke Program by managing aspects of its external TeleStroke infrastructure, while local IT professionals continue to focus on big picture internal technological issues. Through GCI ConnectMD, Swedish can quickly set up encrypted connections and transfer Head CT images while maintaining HIPAA compliancy. Working with GCI ConnectMD also ensures that Swedish bandwidth growth for large image transfers will never compete with Internet usage, nor be subject to inconsistencies. While GCI ConnectMD oversees the secure medical network, Swedish hospital engineers can focus on more strategic initiatives like further building out their "Hub and Spoke Telestroke Program" model as the network expands.

"It's apparent there is a need to connect to more and more Institutions and share information to provide better and faster patient care," said Peter Hoelzl, Supervisor, Network Engineering, IS, Swedish. "From a networking concept we believed it to be more cost effective to have a few connections to a couple of Regional Health Networks, than to have a separate connection to each of our partners. GCI Connect MD provides us with one connection on the Swedish Medical Center side but allows us to connect quickly to many partners at once - making us more responsive to our customers and the relationships they are building."

"Since November of 2008 we've been helping ER teams at community hospitals provide an enhanced level of stroke care services to people who live and work in this region. This has ensured a level of care only previously available to people living in a major urban area," said SNI Stroke Program Medical Director William Likosky, M.D. "Through modern innovations like telemedicine, GCI ConnectMD is actually facilitating an otherwise impossible connection between experienced consultants and bedside ER patients."

GCI ConnectMD has been aligning patient and provider interests for over twenty-five years - helping to improve care, lower costs and expand quality medical treatment nationally. Since the Swedish TeleStroke Program is part of an integrated effort to improve stroke diagnosis and treatment throughout Washington State, GCI ConnectMD and Swedish's TeleStroke Program is working to identify areas for expanding the network beyond its existing sites.

For more information on how to become a partner of the Swedish TeleStroke Program for advanced stroke diagnosis and treatment, or for information about other Telehealth Programs available at Swedish Medical Center, contact Tammy Cress at 206-320-3112.

For questions regarding the Swedish Acute Telestroke program contact Tammy Cress at (206) 320 3112. For questions regarding the GCI ConnectMD medical network contact: Sandy Kukla at 206-812-2534. For media related questions please contact Michael Ann Thomas at 206-264-0246.


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