Louisiana has one of the highest rates of stroke in the United States with just a handful of specialists to diagnose and treat it. Yet stroke patients in more than 30 cities throughout Louisiana are never more than a few minutes from a vascular neurologist at Ochsner Health System who can diagnose and treat their stroke using telemedicine. By bringing stroke care directly to patients, Ochsner has reduced the percentage of patients who need to be transferred to stroke centers, from more than 90% to 30%.
“The idea behind the program was to give a greater part of the population access to stroke specialists while staying in their own communities,” says Gabriel Vidal, M.D., medical director for Ochsner’s comprehensive stroke center.
When patients arrive at one of the hospitals where Ochsner provides telestroke care, the provider initiates a video consult with a specialist at Ochsner, who has near-immediate access to the patient’s information in Epic and can quickly begin treatment.
“Most patients stay local and are treated by their physicians, with the support of our physicians,” Vidal says. “Families are always really appreciative of having their loved ones taken care of locally.”
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