Premier Health and Wayne HealthCare Partner to Offer Expanded Telestroke Network to the Community

Posted On: April 21, 2014

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(Greenville, OH) April 17 – In cooperation with Wayne HealthCare, Premier Health is expanding its Telestroke Network into Greenville to quickly diagnose patients who are exhibiting signs of a stroke. With the implementation of the Telestroke Network, a stroke patient arriving at the Wayne HealthCare emergency center can be examined via a computer linked to one of six on-call stroke specialists practicing at Premier Health any time of the day or night. The telemedicine system is already in place at all Premier Health emergency departments. The Premier Health hospitals were the first in the Dayton area to introduce telemedicine to treat stroke patients.

“As a rural healthcare facility, it is imperative that we provide immediate treatment after a stroke occurs to maximize rehabilitation and recovery for patients,” said Kim Freeman, vice president of patient services at Wayne HealthCare.

Dawn Sweet, director of critical care services at Wayne HealthCare has been influential with leading this process at Wayne HealthCare. In addition, Sweet said, “The virtual exam through the Telestroke Network will help expedite the process of being assessed by an expert neurologist who can order appropriate treatment from their location within a Premier Health facility. Our nurses and clinical staff have completed in-depth training and skills assessment for stroke certification programs, based on the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale standards and are excited about the opportunity to add this service for our patients and community.”

The Premier Health Telestroke Network uses a rolling cart outfitted with a computer, video monitor, camera and audio system to connect the on-call stroke specialist with the patient. When a stroke patient arrives at the emergency department, the system is wheeled to the patient’s bedside. A staff member from the emergency center contacts the remote on-call stroke specialist from one of the Premier hospitals. The specialist logs onto a computer and then can have two-way audio and video communication with, the emergency physician, the nurse, patient and family members. The specialist can “see” the patient, ask questions and view CT scans – all in real-time – to help assess the patient’s condition and help the emergency physician determine if the patient is a candidate for acute stroke therapy.

This technology dramatically increases the number of patients who can receive clot dissolving medication. This medicine is only effective within the first few hours after the stroke onset. Rapid administration can minimize the damage to the brain.

Dr. Jacob Kitchener, a Premier Health neurointerventional specialist who will be one of the physicians on-call for the telemedicine program, says the benefit this technology brings to patients is tremendous. “Telemedicine enables physicians specifically trained in acute stroke care to be electronically transported to the patient’s bedside instantly, he says. He adds, “Such timely interactions with the family, emergency physician and most importantly, the patient, allow for a thorough and rapid patient evaluation. We are thrilled to bring this technology to the patients of Wayne HealthCare.”

In addition to Dr. Kitchener, the on-call team includes Ahmed Fathy, MD, Bradley Jacobs, MD, Bryan Ludwig, MD, Kiran Poudel, MD, and Robb Snider, MD.

Physicians believe that telemedicine will result in faster delivery of care which can improve patient outcomes. The possibilities for telemedicine are endless and Premier Hospitals could use the program in other areas such as cardiology in the future.

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Media Contacts:
Nancy Thickel Terri Flood
Premier Health Wayne HealthCare
(937) 208-2725 (937) 547-5704
ncthickel@premierhealth.com terri.flood@waynehealthcare.org

About Premier Health
Based in Dayton, Ohio, Premier Health (www.premierhealthpartners.org) provides services to patients throughout a nine-county region, and its mission is to build healthier communities. The health system operates four hospitals, Miami Valley Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center. In addition, the health system offers a large primary and specialty care network, along with home health services. With over 14,000 employees and 2,300 physicians, the health system is the second largest employer in the region and is the largest healthcare system in Southwest Ohio.

About Wayne HealthCare
Wayne HealthCare (www.waynehealthcare.org) is a rural 92 bed, non-profit acute care hospital located in Greenville, Ohio. The hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services to patients in the Darke County community; which include cancer care, telemedicine, perioperative services and community wellness. With approximately 450 employees and 250 credentialed providers, Wayne HealthCare is proud to be the sole hospital in Southwestern Ohio.