The newest members are Catawba Valley Medical Center, a 258-bed facility in Hickory; Lake Norman Regional Medical Center, a 123-bed facility in Mooresville, and Iredell Memorial Hospital, a 247-bed facility in Statesville. Their addition brings to 10 the number of North Carolina hospitals participating in the Telestroke Network, which is part of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s Primary Stroke Center.
The central purpose of the Wake Forest Baptist Telestroke Network is to reduce death and disability caused by strokes. It accomplishes this by partnering with community hospitals to ensure that they have 24-hour access to Wake Forest Baptist’s acute-stroke experts via two-way live video and audio consultation and image-sharing technology.
The Telestroke Network’s system employs highly specialized telemedicine robots that allow a Wake Forest Baptist stroke expert to evaluate a patient at a member hospital and consult with emergency department doctors there in real time via the Internet. Together, the physicians can determine the best course of action to take.
“Speed is of the essence when dealing with acute stroke. Even minutes can make all the difference in the outcome,” said Charles Tegeler, M.D., professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and director of the Telestroke Network. “The network gives patients and doctors in other communities on-demand access to our stroke experts. This saves time, helps to avoid delays in access to potentially life-saving therapies and improves continuity of care if transfer to a higher level of care is needed.”
Wake Forest Baptist’s stroke specialists, each of whom has completed an additional year of fellowship training in the care of stroke patients or is board certified in vascular neurology, make up the largest team of stroke neurologists in the region.
Catawba Valley Medical Center and Lake Norman Regional Medical Center are fully operational members of the network. Iredell Memorial Hospital is expected to be integrated into the network later this summer.
The other members of the Telestroke Network, which was established in November 2009, are Wake Forest Baptist Health–Lexington Medical Center in Lexington, Wilkes Regional Medical Center in North Wilkesboro, Ashe Memorial Hospital in Jefferson, Alleghany Memorial Hospital in Sparta, Caldwell Memorial Hospital in Lenoir, Carteret General Hospital in Morehead City and Wake Forest Baptist Health–Davie Hospital in Mocksville.
Detailed information about the Wake Forest Baptist Telestroke Network is available online at www.wakehealth.edu/telestroke .
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