A Novel Use of Prehospital Telemedicine to Decrease Door to Computed Tomography Results in Acute Strokes

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INTRODUCTION: Timely emergency department (ED) recognition of acute strokes reduces morbidity and mortality and improves outcomes. Prehospital telehealth evaluation rapidly assesses patients with stroke symptoms and mobilizes resources before ED arrival, decreasing ED arrival to computed tomography (CT) result times. Expediting CT results reduces the decision time to determining thrombolytic therapy eligibility. METHODS: Seventeen ambulances in our region were supplied with equipment to perform a nonrecordable video examination with an ED physician. Emergency Medical Service requested a physician video examination on patients with a positive prehospital Cincinnati Stroke Scale. The physician and paramedic conducted an NIH-8 scale, and, based on the assessment, the patients were placed directly on the CT scanner table. RESULTS: Four time intervals that impact CT acquisition and thrombolytic decision-making were measured. There was improvement in all time intervals. Time from ED arrival to CT order decreased 1.7 minutes. Time from arrival to study start decreased 5.7 minutes. Time from CT order to result decreased 3.89 minutes and time from ED arrival to CT result decreased 5.6 minutes. DISCUSSION: Prehospital telehealth consults with paramedics, and the receiving hospital for acute strokes significantly decreased times for all metrics studied including the time from ED arrival to CT result.

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