N.H. ‘telestroke’ program unveiled by DHMC

The program is designed to bring the expertise of a stroke center to a patient’s bedside



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A “telestroke” program, aimed at giving stroke patients better access to specialists, has been launched by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Catholic Medical Center will be the first facility in the state to offer the service, which gives patients access to a specialist at any hour – not only to physicians at Dartmouth-Hitchcock but from the nationally known Mayo Clinic as well.

The new program will bring the expertise of a stroke center to a patient’s bedside, improving outcomes and lowering costs through more timely and accurate diagnoses, said Dr. James Weinstein, president and CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Specialists will use videoconferencing technology to communicate with the emergency room team, examine the patient, interpret the brain images, confirm the diagnosis and provide recommendations just as if they were at the bedside. The thorough evaluation determines the most immediate and best treatment plan for that patient.

“Telehealth is critical to creating a sustainable health system that focuses on population health, value and payment models that reward high-quality care,” said Weinstein. “New technologies are making it possible for us to deliver care in ways never before imagined – giving patients the care they need close to home.”

Sarah Pletcher, medical director of the Center for Telehealth at Dartmouth-Hitchcock said the new program should be a boon for New Hampshire. “Northern New England has the ideal demographics and geography to demonstrate the value of telemedicine technology to provide access to specialists when minutes count — as in stroke, trauma and other time-critical emergencies,” she said.

The Mayo Clinic began its telestroke program in 2007. Since that time, more than 4,000 consultations for neurological emergencies like stroke between Mayo neurologists and physicians at the spoke centers have taken place, officials said.

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