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Videoconferencing can increase patient access to stroke specialists
Date:5/11/2009

ce," said Lee Schwamm, M.D., lead author of a scientific statement and policy statement on telemedicine, and associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and Vice Chairman of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

To be effective, however, there needs to be changes in how telemedicine activities are reimbursed, he said. For that, policy recommendations were released along with the scientific statement. The policy statement recommends:

Deploying telestroke systems to supplement resources where around-the-clock local, on-site acute stroke expertise is insufficient. Increasing Medicare reimbursement for telestroke assessment, diagnosis and approval to use tPA to reflect the increased upfront costs of implementation. Developing a mechanism for uniform, streamlined credentialing for telestroke providers and uniform national telemedicine licensure by state medical boards. Increasing funding sources for stroke telemedicine programs which could include designating support from the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.


TIA Statement Highlights:

Imaging data, rather than how long temporary symptoms last, should be used to define a transient ischemic attack (TIA) once known as a "mini" stroke or "warning" stroke. Patients with suspected TIA should be evaluated as soon as possible preferably with a specialized MRI. Re-defining transient ischemic attack (TIA)

Another statement addressed TIAs. The authors said the risk of stroke after a TIA is higher than previously thought. Therefore, they re-defined the condition to urge immediate action and thorough testing much like the exam after a full-blown stroke.

"We think a TIA should be treated as an emergency, just like a major stroke," said J. Donald Easton, M.D., writing chair of the statement and professor and chair of the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at Alpert Medical School of Brown University and
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Contact: Maggie Francis
maggie.francis@heart.org
214-706-1382
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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