Healthcast: Telemedicine helping stroke patients



When someone is having a stroke, seconds matter.

But what happens if you live in a rural area and the closest neurologist is more than an hour away?

Covenant Health Plainview hopes they now have the answer to help stroke victims get the help they need in a more timely matter.

“Telemedicine allows us to bring speciality care to our patients that we serve,” explained Covenant Health Plainview CEO Bob Copeland. 

Previously, if someone in Plainview or any of the rural surrounding areas had a stroke, they would have to be sent to Lubbock, but not anymore.

“This is going to be an invaluable approach because it is direct, real time with another person on the other end,” explained ER Doctor Beau McCrory. 

If someone comes into the ER with signs of a stroke, they’ll get a CT scan and a neurological exam. 

Then a doctor will call in the neurologist through their Telestroke telemedicine program. 

“The neurologist will be on the other end of it looking at images through the camera,” said McCrory.

“The neurologist will be able to see the CT scan and the results and be able to read it wherever they’re located,” explained Melissa Rodriguez, the ER manager for Covenant Health Plainview. 

Based on what the neurologist says and the nurse and doctors determine, they’ll decide what’s best for that patient.

“It will help us determine whether or not we should give the patient medication to break up these blood clots that form in some of the types of strokes we see in the emergency department versus should we transfer this patient for immediate therapy,” said McCrory.

Doctors say this technology won’t only save patients travel time but save patients lives when seconds matter.

“Hopefully they’ll spend less time in rehab and be able to get back to their normal lives sooner,” Rodriguez said.

Covenant Health Plainview will start using this telemedicine stroke program in the next month. 

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