"Today it's a uniform platform with multiple applications," Hess said. "That is what our customers want."
Part of REACH's success is what Hess calls its "secret sauce," which enables an interactive consultation between the stroke specialist and referring physician. "They put in data, we put in data, so in the end we produce a consult they can follow with guidelines, for example, on how to give tPA," Hess said, referencing the only FDA-approved stroke drug. Quick administration is necessary to maximize the drug's effectiveness and, even after all these years, less than 5 percent of patients get it. That disconnect is the primary reason development of a remote care system was common sense, Hess said. "It's an immediate, collaborative consultation in the cloud."
"It's never going to take the place of a physician and a patient sitting across from each other but that is not always possible," Otto added. In fact, with fewer than four stroke specialists for every 100,000 people, it's highly unlikely for stroke care.
"Efficiencies in medicine are driving decisions in medicine," Otto said. No doubt the REACH system increases the efficiency of stroke specialists by making distance from the patient irrelevant, he said. That's particularly cogent in an aging population with too few doctors.
REACH targets academic health centers, which tend to attract stroke specialists, as the logical starting point for developing the hub-and-spoke model that makes the system an efficient, effective tool on both ends of the patient consultation, Hess said. Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center, the original hub, now connects with 17 smaller hospitals across Georgia.
The latest REACH system is being tested at St. Joseph's/Candler in Savannah, the hub for
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Georgia Health Sciences University