Thomasville Times Enterprise

February 12, 2013

Archbold increases access to stroke specialists

Staff report
CNHI

THOMASVILLE — Stroke is the third-leading cause of death among diseases nationally as well as in Georgia. Further, Centers for Disease Control statistics show that stroke rates in the communities Archbold serves are routinely well above the state average.

 Recognizing a stroke early and acting fast may help reduce its devastating effects, though. To maximize effectiveness of evaluation and treatment, it’s important to seek medical attention within three hours after symptoms are first present.

 Archbold Memorial Hospital recently partnered with Specialists On Call Inc. (SOC), the nation’s leading provider of clinical telemedicine, to work directly with hospital physicians and staff to expand patient access to high quality critical care in neurology around the clock.

 Although Archbold has neurologists on the hospital’s medical staff, the new teleneurology program will enhance the hospital’s existing neurology program and provide patients with increased access to bedside neurological coverage 365 days a year, and 24 hours a day.

 “The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability,” said Amy Griffin, vice president of patient care services at Archbold.

 The program uses state-of-the-art videoconferencing technology and secure lines of communication to connect the SOC neurologists directly with hospital physicians, nurses, patients and their families in a manner that closely resembles an in-person bedside consultation, helping to make the experience as comfortable as possible for all involved

  “Time is of the essence in emergency cases, and our new teleneurology program helps connect our patients with board certified, fellowship trained specialists who can quickly diagnose and recommend treatment options to physicians and hospital staff, from a specialist’s perspective,” said Griffin.

 Together, Archbold physicians and SOC specialists collaborate to quickly and accurately to diagnose and treat patients suffering from neurological emergencies, including stroke.

 Griffin said the equipment will be used 90-plus percent of the time for emergency room type cases, but will be available to other floors if needed, and all involved nursing staff and physicians have gone through respective training.

 “Data shows there is a clear need for rapid, effective treatment of stroke patients, and this technology helps us meet that need in our community,” said Griffin.