Arkansas hospital, UAMS pilot stroke telemedicine program

Mountain Home, Ark.-based Baxter Regional Medical Center partnered with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock on a pilot program that uses telemedicine to increase the speed of stroke care, NBC affiliate KY3 reports.

BRMC is just one of two hospitals in Arkansas that have added videoconferencing technology to its ambulances. When a first responder has a patient who they suspect is having a stroke, the provider can virtually connect with a neurologist from UAMS, who will watch video of the patient perform different steps of the intervention to help diagnose stroke.

Telemedicine helps the neurologist complete most of his or her medical assessment before the patient even arrives at the hospital. This allows the BRMC providers to administer medication and intervene as soon as the patient arrives at the hospital.

"We look at maybe saving 20 or 30 minutes," Christopher Fry, BRMC paramedic supervisor, told KY3. "But millions, literally millions of brain cells die every second that a stroke is occurring. So, if we can save 20 minutes or 30 minutes off that patient's event, we are more likely to have a patient come out the other end."

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