Michigan health system receives $8.8M for telerobotics in rural areas

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan received a $8.8 million grant to improve and expand robotic-assisted coronary procedures in rural areas.

The grant, provided by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, will launch the first education and training center to facilitate adoption and retention of robotic-assisted coronary procedures. It will also develop the first multistate network among independent health systems to study remote catheter-based technologies in treating myocardial infarction and stroke, according to an Oct. 3 news release.

Ryan Madder, MD, an interventional cardiologist, and Stacie VanOosterhout, a research project specialist from BHSH Spectrum Health West Michigan, have demonstrated the technical feasibility of telerobotic, catheter-based treatments over distances exceeding 3,000 miles.

"Barriers to timely access to catheter-based, lifesaving treatments for myocardial infarction and stroke still exist for many patients due to geography and a shortage of specialists," Dr. Madder said in the release. "The consequence of not meeting this need is that myocardial infarction and stroke victims in underserved areas often do not receive timely, state-of-the-art treatment and consequently can suffer higher mortality and worse outcomes."

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