Mayo Clinic: How Telestroke Care Is Cost-Saving to Society

A rurally located stroke patient treated using a telestroke network will incur $1,436 lower costs, according to a new study from Phoenix-based Mayo Clinic researchers and published in the American Journal of Managed Care.

The Mayo Clinic's telestroke network allows connected spoke facilities around-the-clock access to remote consults with Mayo neurologists. An analysis of costs and outcomes from a modeled seven-spoke telestroke network compared with those from traditional, community hospital-based treatment revealed a telestroke network may increase the use of clot-busting drugs, catheter-based interventional procedures and other stroke therapies, and allow more patients to be discharged back home.

"This study shows that a hub-and-spoke telestroke network is not only cost-effective from the societal perspective, but it's cost-saving," said lead study author Bart Demaerschalk, MD, director of the Mayo Clinic Telestroke Program, in a news release.

The study also found telestroke services resulted in a patient's gain of 0.02 quality-adjusted life-years over a lifetime, suggesting the benefits of telestroke to patients and society extends beyond cost-savings. "The results serve to inform government organizations, insurers, healthcare institutions, practitioners, patients and the general public that an upfront investment in telemedicine and stroke network personnel can be justified in our health systems,” Dr. Demaerschalk said.

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