Telestroke Treatment Coming to HAMH

Hayward Area Memorial Hospital is launching a telemedicine stroke program with Allina Health to improve stroke care in our community. The program will begin on Friday, April 26, 2019, and will allow HAMH staff to connect with a stroke neurologist utilizing advanced videoconferencing technology.

These special units feature a computer monitor and remote-controlled camera, which allow for two-way video and audio communication between the neurologist, patient and on-site provider. It also allows the neurologist to view CT scans and assess the patient’s condition in real time to help determine if a patient is a candidate for acute stroke therapy.

With a stroke, every minute counts. A medicine called Tissue Plasminogen Activator (TPA) can be lifesaving but is most effective when given within 4.5 hours of having a stroke. The difficulty of administering TPA is that it is often only prescribed after a physician has an opportunity to consult with a neurologist.

“Our partnership with Allina will ensure that we have 24/7 coverage by a stroke neurologist,” explains Emergency Room Medical Director Dayle Quigley, M.D. “This technology allows the neurologist to consult with our patients and with the ER physician virtually using telemedicine. The ER physician and neurologist can then determine the best care for the patient. We may be a small hospital, but this technology will allow us to practice state of the art medicine.”

In many cases, depending on the treatment plan, patients may even be able to stay in Hayward versus being transported to another hospital for care. HAMH CEO Luke Beirl says telemedicine is just one more way HAMH is striving to improve access to high quality care and improve the overall patient experience by offering services locally.

“Timely treatment is the key to improving patient outcomes from stroke. For the past year, we’ve been improving our stroke response process, including reducing CT scan wait times. The addition of telemedicine is the final piece to ensure patients receive an accurate and timely treatment plan for this life threatening condition.”

According to the American Heart Association, Plasminogen given within 4.5 hours of symptoms can help reverse disability from the most common type of stroke. If administered within 90 minutes, patients experience a three times more favorable outcome.

Each year, more than 800,000 Americans suffer from a stroke. It is the fifth leading cause of death. Common signs of stroke include:
• sudden numbness or weakness in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
• sudden severe headache
• sudden trouble understanding or speaking
• sudden vision problems
• sudden trouble with coordination or walking

If you or someone you know is having any of these symptoms, call 911 or go to the hospital right away; every minute counts.