Telestroke

Emergency physicians get immediate, 24/7 access to neurologists with expertise in stroke care who can support both the assessment and treatment of patients experiencing acute stroke.

Telestroke Provider: Content

About the Program

The Provincial Telestroke Program provides access to a standard of care for hyper-acute stroke patient assessment and management for Ontario residents who currently don’t have access to it. The program is supported by a group of neurologists and provides support for clinicians who lack the expertise to assess and treat patients.

The Provincial Telestroke Program:

  • provides 24/7 stroke coverage via OTN
  • uses CritiCall Ontario to contact a neurologist
  • uses the Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System (ENITS) for CT image viewing, and
  • supports discussions between Emergency Department physicians and a neurologist regarding the treatment of stroke patients, including the administration of tPA.

Seven Consulting sites in the province support 24/7 access to stroke neurologists for 28 hospitals in Ontario.

Of the 28 hospitals capable of administering tPA, 10 sites can also administer EVT.

Benefits

Improved stroke recovery

Clinical research shows that patients with acute stroke treated with tPA within the first 4.5 hours of symptom onset have better outcomes, with 30% more patients recovering with no or minor disability. The sooner the treatment is started the better the results.

Value to the healthcare system

Each year in Ontario, 16,000 people will experience a stroke, at a cost to the economy of $964M in medical and other stroke-related costs. However, stroke’s enormous burden can be significantly reduced by implementing the use of a thrombolytic drug like tPA.

“Telestroke makes it possible for a neurologist to be at the patient’s bedside – even when that patient is hundreds of kilometres away – and assist the local physician with determining the most effective therapy possible.”

– Dr. Frank Silver, Neurologist and Medical Director, Telestroke

Participation Criteria

To participate in the Provincial Telestroke Program, a referring site must have:

  • A 24/7 staffed Emergency Department and CT scan
  • Physician support for the model, including the administration of tPA
  • Funding to support establishing the Telestroke Program at the site, including participation in clinical and technical training and the development of hospital processes and procedures to support it, and
  • Support of the Regional Stroke Centre and Local Health Integration Network (LHIN)

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