Telehealth for Stroke Patients Improves Patient Access and Response Times at Kentucky Hospital
We have lots of good news to share about telehealth for stroke patients and other Eagle Telemedicine programs, but sometimes we can’t share all of it.
We fully understand and respect the rule that some hospitals and health systems have against making a public endorsement of any product or service. But, it does prevent us from sharing in our marketing materials all the great stories and the details we have to tell about the success of our programs. That’s frustrating, but again, we understand.
We can, however, broadcast the amazing results we are helping those hospitals achieve…without mentioning the names or specific location of the facility.
That’s the case with a 52-bed Kentucky facility that was facing challenges bringing specialty programs to its rural community. It has achieved amazing results with our remote TeleStroke program—to the tune of a 50-percent reduction in patient transfers.
TeleStroke a Natural Evolution
The hospital had tried with a Kentucky university to set up a stroke telemedicine solution for patient care, and though it obtained all the necessary equipment and had the requisite patient volume, it lacked a blueprint and a credentialed team of stroke specialists to get the program off the ground.
So, it approached us about TeleStroke. “There was already a working relationship with Eagle here (through Eagle’s TeleHospitalist program for nighttime coverage), so telehealth for stroke patients evolved naturally,” said the hospital’s director of inpatient services.
Eagle provided a draft implementation plan and had a team of neurology specialists ready to go to work as soon as they were credentialed to practice at the hospital. Once credentialing was taken care of, the program went live in 2018.
The hospital saw results immediately. With the engagement of Eagle and our stroke telehealth services team, the medical staff of the hospital was able to identify and care for patients with neurologic conditions in their community—patients who, without a neurologist, the hospital had historically been unable to keep and provide care for.
With the Eagle TeleStroke program, neurology transfers dropped from 10 per month to five per month. Everyone at the facility agrees that the results are indeed remarkable. In addition to pleasing patients and their families by keeping them close to home in their own community hospital, the facility saw significant ROI, with five neurology patients per month associated with upward of $500,000 in revenue annually.
The difference is having a team of neurology specialists at the ready to provide expertise and support to clinical staff. “They answer a phone call within five minutes and are on the videoconferencing robot within 10, where we work through the National Institutes of Health (NIH) stroke scale, showing patients the NIH cue cards on the videoconferencing monitor. We don’t have to worry about misinterpreting second-hand feedback from the experts. We can evaluate patients right there as a team and agree upon what we are seeing,” the director said.
That’s an important point about misinterpreting second-hand feedback in traditional scenarios where a nurse or Emergency Department (ED) physician might have to describe a patient’s symptoms over the phone to a neurology specialist. That doesn’t happen with the Eagle telehealth for stroke patients , where the virtual specialists and on-the-ground staff are able to view the patient’s symptoms and responses firsthand as they work together, collaboratively, with patients.
In addition, the director and the chief nursing officer say they have seen an increase in nursing staff’s ability to identify neurological change in their patients and respond quickly. They’ve grown in knowledge and confidence as a result of their exposure to the neurology specialists via stroke telehealth services.
That’s great news, too—a way of mitigating the penalties rural communities face because they don’t have as many specialists at the ready as their metropolitan counterparts.
We’ll continue to share more good stories like this one in our blog—whether they have to be anonymous or not.