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Half of Americans live more than an hour away from lifesaving stroke care
Date:2/24/2010

perated by air medical service providers across the United States and calculated similar dispatch and response times to illustrate how utilizing helicopters could speed access for more patients.

The goal of the new research, Carr says, was to think differently about how to deliver stroke care, perhaps by policy solutions such as allowing ambulances to cross state lines, or using helicopters to more rapidly transfer patients to stroke centers. No national system for acute care of stroke patients currently exists, unlike the regionalized system for transport of trauma patients those who've had car crashes, suffered falls, or been stabbed or shot to hospitals that meet specific care benchmarks, making it possible for 83 percent of the U.S. population to reach trauma care within an hour.

In addition to air transport of stroke patients to high-level facilities, the authors suggest that other, lower-cost solutions could also be employed to extend the net of optimal care to a greater number of patients across the nation. Among suggestions: the development of inter-hospital referral networks, using telemedical technology to connect smaller or rural hospitals with guidance from specialty physicians trained in stroke care, and offering incentives for the development of stroke centers in underserved areas.

"Strokes often strike without warning. We are all at risk, and the therapy is time-critical. Data like these brings us closer to taking a big step in the development of not only a more robust stroke system, but of an emergency care system that can serve anyone, no matter where they are in the country," Carr says. "Using technology, we hope to develop new ways to connect hospitals to each other so that instead of always delivering the patient to the doctor, we will be able to deliver the doctor to the patient."


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Contact: Holly Auer
holly.auer@uphs.upenn.edu
215-200-2313
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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