Baptist Hospital's new program expedites neurological treatment

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A Memphis hospital is making it easier to treat patients with strokes or other neurological problems.

The new program at Baptist Memorial Hospital is called TeleStroke. It allows neurologists to rapidly evaluate and treat patients--regardless of the time of day.

"The sooner you give tPA (the most effective FDA-approved treatment for ischemic strokes) after the person hits your door, the better. Every minute that is lost in a stroke patient is a loss of 1,000,000 or so brain cells," Baptist Memorial Hospital system administrator Kimberly Hallam-Stewart said.

TeleStroke is the first wave of telemedicine programs at Baptist Memorial Health Care. Currently, 10 Baptist hospitals are equipped with TeleStroke.

The program is already making a big difference, especially in rural areas where it's often difficult to recruit specialists like neurologists.

The program quickly and effectively connects patients with neurologists using a video camera, microphone, and monitor. TeleStroke allows patients to be evaluated by a specialist in less than 30 minutes.

"The quicker you are able to intervene, the patient then walks out with more functionality," Hallam-Stewart said.

Baptist Hospitals said it plans to equip all 21 hospitals in the region with TeleStroke in the near future.

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