Iberia Medical Center Implements Stroke Telemedicine Program

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Iberia Medical Center Implements Stroke Telemedicine Program - Thursday, July 5, 2018

New Iberia, LA – Stroke patients at Iberia Medical Center now have immediate access to highly specialized neurologists as the result of a partnership between IMC and Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans. Through the Telestroke network, emergency department physicians have the ability to consult immediately with Ochsner neurologists 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year using state-of-the-art telemedicine "robot" technology to determine the best treatment options for stroke patients.

Telemedicine programs improve the quality of care for patients outside of urban areas by allowing them access to specialists and by reducing the costs associated with travel and the time spent away from work and family. "The Ochsner TeleHealth program allows patients across the Gulf South Region to receive care for specialty services such as stroke in their local community,” says Rachelle Longo, Director of TeleHealth at Ochsner. "This model of keeping patients local not only benefits the patients, but the community hospital as well! Iberia Medical Center can now treat stroke patients in a matter of minutes with the ability to have an Ochsner Neurologist evaluate these patients through telemedicine. This allows stroke victims in the surrounding community to have access to the same level of care as a stroke victim in New Orleans,” added Longo.

Ischemic stroke is caused by a blockage in a blood vessel that stops the flow of blood to the brain and deprives the surrounding brain tissue of oxygen. In the absence of oxygen, the brain cells in the immediate area begin to die, causing permanent brain damage, disability or death. Two million brain cells die every minute during a stroke, so immediate medical attention can save a life and limit disabilities.

When a patient comes into the emergency department at Iberia Medical Center with the symptoms of an acute ischemic stroke, a computer with an advanced webcam will be brought to the bedside where the clinical team will connect with a neurologist on call at Ochsner. The patient and clinical team at Iberia Medical Center can see and speak to each other throughout the consult. The physician will examine the patient and review the CAT scan of the patient’s head, providing guidance on advanced treatments within minutes.

In most cases, Telestroke consultation will allow patients to stay at Iberia Medical Center. In more complicated cases the patient may need to be transferred to Ochsner or another facility for specialized treatment. Telestroke is still beneficial in these cases because the neurologist will have already met and started treatment the patient.

"Every second counts when a patient shows symptoms of a stroke. This partnership will enhance community access to neurological care and life-saving treatment. By combining collaboration and technology, we are bringing expert stroke care close to home", says Parker Templeton, Iberia Medical Center CEO.

For more information on Ochsner’s telemedicine capabilities, please contact Rachelle Longo at rlongo@ochsner.org, or Seth Landry at slandry@iberiamedicalcenter.com.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T.:

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?

Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?

Time: Time is critical to protecting brain damage. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately


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