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Telemedicine leads to better stroke treatment decisions
Date:8/2/2008

al and audio access to the patient, medical team and medical data at the remote site.

We assumed that telemedicine was a good idea, but it hadnt been scientifically tested until now, said Meyer, who is also associate professor of neurosciences at the UCSD School of Medicine. Using STRokE DOC, our stroke team physicians were able to evaluate the patient and help make the correct decision about treatment over 98 percent of the time, compared to only 82 percent of the time when doing a telephone consultation to a remote site.

UC San Diego stroke team doctors can access the telemedicine system pioneered at UCSD in collaboration with the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), Qualcomm and BF-Technologies, Inc. from any location with an Internet connection, enabling them to rapidly connect with an emergency medicine practitioner, the patient and perhaps their family members at the spoke. A mobile camera server with an intravenous-pole design is placed at the foot of the patients bed at the remote site.

Via this system, the stroke specialists can not only view physical signs of a possible stroke in order to assess the patients condition, but can speak to the patient, family members, nurses and attending physicians, as well as directly review CT scan images of the patients brain. Patients and their families can see, hear, and communicate directly with the stroke expert.

When a person suffers a stroke, time is of the essence, Meyer explained, as treatment to reduce brain infarctions, known as rtPA (alteplase), must be administered within three hours of the onset of a stroke. Waiting too long to give the drug can result in bleeding in the brain, or even death.

If you make a poor decision using a telephone consultation, you potentially put the patient at risk for a poor outcome, Meyer said. The question we set out to ask with this five-year study was, did we make the right decision? The answer was overwhelmin
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Contact: Debra Kain
ddkain@ucsd.edu
619-543-6163
University of California - San Diego
Source:Eurekalert

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