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The telestroke program that’s saving lives remotely

Lexington, Kentucky (October 17, 2023) – The ability for stroke specialists to respond immediately is crucial because early diagnosis and treatment are key to surviving a stroke. Telestroke and teleneurology programs are lifelines for people living outside city limits and in rural areas. 

Dr. Murali Kolikanda, Systems Medical Director and Vascular Neurologist with the Baptist Health Medical Group in Kentucky, sat down with Connected Nation to explain why telestroke programs are important and how the Lexington comprehensive stroke center uses them.

Doctors can call in via monitor streams to conduct assessments and evaluations, as well as view results from their phones. Dr. Kolikanda described a scenario in which a patient was treated and brought into care within 23 minutes thanks to the telestroke program.

Programs like these require fast broadband and reliable internet access. “It is vital, especially in this telestroke system, because you're treating patients in real time and you're making decisions in real time — looking at the scans on your phone from the mobile apps,” said Dr. Kolikanda. “So, connectivity is a very crucial aspect of telestroke and teleneurology.”

The pandemic lifted some of the regulations on telehealth that allow programs like these to grow. However, the risks of COVID caused many patients to be fearful of coming to the hospital at all.

“They were sitting at home until it got worse,” said Dr. Kolikanda. “They were coming to the hospital by the time all the early stroke treatment windows [closed]. We are out of all the treatment options at that time.”

If you are experiencing signs of a stroke, contact your telehealth provider immediately, or call 911 and go to the nearest hospital. Watch the full video below OR click here!