Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Implements Tele-Stroke Network

October 26, 2009

The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center launched a tele-stroke network to help patients in rural communities receive state-of-the-art stroke therapies. Wake Forest Baptist’s stroke network provides access to physicians that are nationally recognized for stroke care. Through the network, patients in rural areas will now have rapid access to stroke experts and to the latest state-of-the-art stroke therapies and interventions. Wake Forest Baptist was one of the first to set up this type of program in North Carolina for stroke patients.

“We are excited that Lexington Hospital was the first hospital to participate in the Wake Forest Baptist tele-stroke network,” said Donny Lambeth, president and chief operating officer of North Carolina Baptist Hospital. “This is a wonderful example of how community hospitals and academic medical centers partner to enhance quality of care.”

Emergency room physicians in local community hospitals will have access to five stroke neurologists 24/7 via a telemedicine robotic system that allows a Wake Forest Baptist stroke expert to evaluate and consult with them. Wake Forest Baptist stroke neurologists have either completed fellowship training in the care of stroke patients or are board-certified in vascular neurology.

Through the power of the Internet, a stroke physician seated at the TotalView™ Control Station can simultaneously view electronic patient records and connect to an RP-7™ Robot or RP Lite system located at each community hospital. From anywhere, under control of the Wake Forest Baptist stroke expert, the robot can move freely, allowing the doctor to interact with patients, family members and hospital staff. Wake Forest Baptist stroke neurologists will partner with emergency room physicians to determine if the patient is a candidate for tPA, an intraveneous, clot-busting drug that has been proven to slow or stop the devastating effects of a stroke if received within the allowable time.

Stroke strikes about 750,000 people each year in the United States, leaving thousands disabled, and is the leading cause of serious long-term disability in the elderly. People living in what is called the stroke belt, including North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, have high incidence and mortality rates from stroke than other parts of the country.

“The Tele-stroke network is a real step forward in providing the latest in stroke care and expertise to all patients in North Carolina,” said Charles Tegeler, M.D., a Wake Forest Baptist neurologist, who serves as the director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center and president of the North Carolina Neurological Society. “Using a robotic system allows our stroke experts to virtually interact with a patient in a community hospital miles away as though the patient were right in front of us.” 

For more information about the tele-stroke program, call 336-716-3038 or visit our website at www.wfubmc.edu. 


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