Tuesday, September 02, 2014

It's global: Telemedicine can make a difference

Telemedicine is important in rural America. I've been through lots of small towns with few or no specialists who can make the difference between proper treatment and permanent disability or death.

Now, a study in Germany shows the impact telemedicine in that country:
During the same interval, the proportion of patients receiving thrombolytic therapy rose from 2.6% to 15.5%.
"The main findings of 10-year experience of TEMPiS showed that this type of telemedical stroke unit network is sustaining, offers state-of-the-art acute stroke care by increasing access to stroke units and improving thrombolysis service, and is associated with long-term improvement in terms of quality indicators of acute hospital care," Muller-Barna and colleagues wrote.
Telemedicine -- the use of modern teleconferencing technology to evaluate patients remotely and to recommend treatment strategies -- has increasingly been adopted in developed countries as a way to bring specialist care to rural areas where it is otherwise scarce or unavailable.
In the stroke setting, it involves putting stroke neurologists located mainly in urban tertiary care centers on call to evaluate patients brought into community hospitals in distant towns.
Time, as mentioned in this blog before, is key in stroke response. Using the combination of technology and medicine can decrease that time and improve outcomes.

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