OHSU Telestroke System Goes Online at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center
Stroke patients taken to Asante Three Rivers Medical Center will now receive care from top stroke neurologists at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland, Oregon without leaving Grants Pass through a special collaboration with the OHSU Telemedicine Network.
“This is a very exciting new program for us,” said Eric Loeliger, MD, medical director of emergency medicine services at Asante Three Rivers. “It allows us to continue the good quality care we have had for strokes—Asante Three Rivers earned 5 stars for acute stroke care from Healthgrades in 2014—but also bring some of the specialists from OHSU essentially into the room with the patients and the physicians to plan the best therapeutic care for our stroke patients.”
Asante Rogue Regional has participated in OHSU’s telestroke program since 2012 with outstanding results, says Charity Barrueta, stroke program coordinator at Asante Rogue Regional. "And now we can bring that same care from OHSU stroke neurologists directly to people in Grants Pass,” she said.
With stroke, time is brain, and the secure two-way audio and video connection with telemedicine puts an OHSU neurologist—backed by the extensive research program at the OHSU Stroke Center and OHSU’s participation in national clinical trials—right in the room with the patient and the doctor in just minutes, often faster than a local neurologist on call can be brought to the hospital.
Using a robotic videoconferencing unit, the OHSU doctor can examine the patient, monitor vital signs, read X-rays or CT scans, consult with the emergency room physician and answer a family's questions.
“It is a two-way communication, both audio and visual, Loeliger said. “And the transfer of information from Asante Three Rivers to Portland is very fast. They immediately see the patient’s CT scan and MRI.”
This program has been very effective,” said Dr. Hormozd Bozorgchami, a neurologist at OHSU. “Much of neurology is observation and being able to see the patient gives us a much better idea of the kind of stroke the patient is having.” Bozorgchami added that the program has helped many patients get treatment locally without making a trip to Portland, but for those who need a higher level of care, it can also be lifesaving.
“It saved my life,” said David DeNoma, a stroke patient who received telestroke care at Asante Rogue Regional. DeNoma was visiting Medford from California when he had a stroke. He was rushed to Asante Rogue Regional and an OHSU neurologist was connected for consult within minutes. He recommended the clot-busting drug tPA and then DeNoma was flown to Portland for a procedure to remove the blood clot from his brain. Today, he has nearly normal function. “Bringing this to Grants Pass will save lives,” he said.
Watch David's story on KTVL-10 Health Matters:
“We have an experienced team of physicians, nurses, and other clinical staff,” explained Barrueta. “The telemedicine service aids our team by allowing the emergency room physician to consult with OHSU right away. "This greatly enhances our ability to preserve brain function and improve outcomes for our stroke patients."
On average, there are 300 strokes in the region each year. Since 2012, OHSU specialists have performed 130 telemedicine consults with Asante including stroke, newborn medical genetics, and pediatrics: 68 percent of the patients have stayed in Medford. OHSU estimates the cost savings to patient from averted transports and hospital stays to be more than $1.9 million.