March 10, 2015 — Carroll Hospital Center physicians will now have 24/7 remote access to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s (UMMC) Brain Attack Team through a new telemedicine service for stroke patients. The tele-stroke program allows Carroll Hospital Center physicians to consult with University of Maryland School of Medicine faculty specialists through innovative technology including secure video cameras and real-time sharing of medical data.
As part of the program, a member of the UMMC Brain Attack Team will be available 24/7 for consultations on stroke patients presenting at Carroll Hospital Center. Consultations, which previously occurred via telephone, have now evolved to videoconference when warranted. Radiology images and laboratory reports can be shared seamlessly between the hospitals and, using video cameras, University of Maryland physicians can perform remote examinations on patients across the miles with a precision approximating being in the same location.
“With early intervention, the long-term effects of a stroke can be minimized,” said Barney J. Stern, M.D., the Stewart J. Greenebaum Endowed Professor of Stroke Neurology and interim chair of the department of neurology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at UMMC. “Identifying the appropriate treatment for each case can be a complex process and, unfortunately, stroke patients do not have the luxury of time on their side.”
Typical treatments for stroke include a clot-busting drug — which can be administered intravenously up to 4.5 hours after an ischemic stroke occurs — as well as catheter-guided arterial recanalization to clear blood vessels in the brain of oxygen-depriving clots. Some patients may have contraindications or need advanced management; in such situations, the expertise available via the tele-stroke program can guide in the decision-making process. If needed, the most complex cases can be transferred to UMMC for further intervention and treatment in the UMMC Comprehensive Stroke Center setting.
UMMC is among a group of medical institutions designated as a Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission Fewer than 70 stroke centers in the United States have been awarded the designation.
“Programs such as this empower community hospitals to provide the necessary care to patients close to their homes,” said Marc. T. Zubrow, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and vice president of telemedicine for the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS). “In the current healthcare environment, it’s crucial to provide the best possible patient care in the most efficient and cost-effective way. By reducing the number of patients that need to be transferred to Baltimore, we keep the right patients in the right place at the right time,” added Zubrow.
For more information: www.umm.edu