Using tablets, telemedicine to speed stroke treatment

A University of Virginia Health System team is working with local rescue squads to diagnose stroke patients before they reach the hospital, enabling more patients to receive lifesaving treatment and have a full recovery.

uva-logoWorking through UVA Innovation’s USEED fundraising program, UVA clinicians are raising $10,000 to equip two additional local ambulances with the iTREAT mobile telemedicine kit. The goal: Connect paramedics through a secure video link with UVA’s specially trained stroke neurologists and emergency medicine physicians, who can diagnose stroke patients while they’re in the ambulance and enable treatment to begin as soon as patients arrive at the hospital.

“The longest delay in treating folks is not once they get to the hospital but before they get to the hospital,” said stroke neurologist Andrew Southerland, MD.

Why Is a Speedy Diagnosis Important?

Fast diagnosis and treatment is vital because the most effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke patients – the clot-busting drug tPA – is only safe and effective if delivered within three hours of when symptoms begin. Due to delays in reaching a hospital and receiving a diagnosis, less than 5 percent of all stroke patients receive tPA.

Getting stroke patients treated quickly is even more challenging for patients living in remote, rural areas of central and southwest Virginia, where it may take an ambulance 30 minutes or longer to get patients to an emergency room or stroke center.

“iTREAT is really designed to help support patients from rural communities to get the care they need quickly,” said David Cattell-Gordon, director of the UVA Office of Telemedicine. “Every minute in a stroke matters.”

Connecting Stroke Neurologists, ER Doctors with Patients

The iTREAT seeks to make productive use of those long ambulance transports to diagnose stroke patients. The UVA partners – the UVA Stroke Center,UVA Department of Emergency Medicine and the UVA Center for Telehealth – are working with the Thomas Jefferson Council for Emergency Medical Services to equip regional rescue squads with the iTREAT mobile telemedicine toolkit. Equipment includes a tablet device, secure videoconferencing technology, a high-speed modem, and a magnetic antenna to mount on the outside of the ambulance.

UVA and the Thomas Jefferson Council are working to equip a total of 12 ambulances in Albemarle, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties with the iTREAT toolkit, said Sherita Chapman, MD, a vascular medicine fellow at UVA. “What we’re trying to improve is treatment times for stroke patients [in these counties],” she said.

Southerland estimates it will cost about $5,000 to equip each additional ambulance with the iTREAT equipment.


Faster Care for a Variety of Patients

The iTREAT technology is in the testing stage with local rescue squads, Southerland said, with the hope of using it to care for Central Virginia patients in early 2014.

“If iTREAT is successful, we hope it can become a model for using telehealth to speed treatment for a range of emergency medical conditions,” Southerland said.


UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Feedback from buyers: “Got the Book in the Mail Saturday, and could not put it down! Great read and great photography as well! Love all of the books I’ve received, but hands down, this is my favorite!” – Russell

Buy here.

augusta free press news
augusta free press news
augusta free press news