Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Telestroke Network has reached a significant milestone by serving more than 10,000 patients since it was established in 2009.
The first community hospital to join the network was Wake Forest Baptist Health – Lexington Medical Center and the network has now grown to include 21 hospitals throughout North Carolina, from the mountains to the coast.
The Telestroke Network provides around-the-clock access to expert stroke care for patients in smaller communities. Emergency department physicians at community hospitals within the network receive on-demand consultation with a Wake Forest Baptist stroke neurologist by using a special mobile robot unit, equipped with video conferencing, located at each of the community hospitals.
Once the robot is wheeled to the patient’s bedside, the patient and physician speak directly with a stroke expert at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem who evaluates the presence or severity of stroke, and in consultation with the physician at the community hospital, helps determine the best treatment plan.
“I cannot overstate how essential this service is to so many small hospitals across North Carolina,” said Amy Guzik, M.D., associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist Health and director of Telestroke Services for the health system. “This program has helped improve stroke care beyond the tPA window and has provided the infrastructure to allow many hospitals to achieve Primary Stroke Center certification from the Joint Commission.”
Primary Stroke Center Certification recognizes hospitals that meet standards to support better outcomes for stroke care.
Through the efforts of the Telestroke physicians and staff at Wake Forest Baptist and the clinicians at the network’s community hospitals, 40% of patients seen have received the emergency clot-busting medicine tPA and more than 60% of patients have been able to receive the care they need while remaining at their local hospital.
In addition, Wake Forest Baptist has increased stroke awareness in the hospitals’ local communities by providing stroke education through the robot to high school students, older adults and international students and by providing the Advanced Stroke Life Support course and certification to emergency department staff and local EMS agencies.
“We are honored to continue to help improve stroke care in communities throughout our state and I have no doubt that we are moving the needle on stroke morbidity and mortality through the collaboration of the hospitals in our network and the dedication of our team,” Guzik said.
Hospitals in the Wake Forest Baptist Telestroke Network include:
- AdventHealth Hendersonville
- Alleghany Health
- Cannon Memorial Hospital
- Carteret Health Care
- Catawba Valley Medical Center
- Granville Medical Center
- Iredell Memorial Hospital
- UNC Caldwell Memorial Hospital
- UNC Lenoir Health Care
- Vidant Health Beaufort Hospital
- Vidant Health Bertie Hospital
- Vidant Health Chowan Hospital
- Vidant Health Duplin Hospital
- Vidant Health Edgecombe Hospital
- Vidant Health North Hospital
- Vidant Health Roanoke-Chowan Hospital
- Wake Forest Baptist Health – Davie Medical Center
- Wake Forest Baptist Health – High Point Medical Center
- Wake Forest Baptist Health – Lexington Medical Center
- Wake Forest Baptist Health – Wilkes Medical Center
- Watauga Medical Center