WICHITA, Kansas – Wesley Medical Center and Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center are partnering to introduce telemedicine stroke-neurology services. WesleyCare Telemedicine Network (WCTN) is an innovative system that uses technology to bring the best of stroke and neurology care to Neosho Memorial. The system will be implemented this summer.
WCTN allows for a neurologist to be linked via television monitor to emergency physicians and providers at Neosho Memorial. By utilizing the WCTN technology, Neosho Memorial will be instantly connected to a stroke-trained neurologist. The system allows patients suffering from stroke-like conditions to be examined and diagnosed, while the patient is still in Chanute.
“We are excited to be on the cutting edge of technology to provide the best, most up-to-date care to our critically ill patients in Chanute,” said Dr. Brian Kueser, NMRMC Emergency Department physician. “The WesleyCare Telemedicine Network will allow us to get quick access to specialty consultations, which will further enhance the great care people get in Chanute.”
WCTN utilizes a mobile cart with an onboard computer, monitor, high-resolution camera and microphone to simultaneously transmit the audio and video portions of a physician consult. Patient medical records, including radiology scans can be accessed. The patient, local physician/provider and the neurologist can conduct online calls anywhere there is an internet connection.
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks blood flow to the brain or when an artery in the brain ruptures, resulting in uncontrolled bleeding. Brain cells critically depend on a consistent flow of oxygen and glucose rich blood. When this flow is interrupted by a stroke, brain cells begin to die. Because our body cannot replicate nerve cells, strokes can lead to permanent brain damage and disability.
The negative effects of stroke depend upon which part of the brain the stroke occurs in. Therefore, strokes produce a wide array of symptoms, including paralysis, inability to speak, memory loss, and loss of cognitive ability.
“Time is essential in stroke care,” Dennis Franks, Neosho Memorial CEO said. “With this partnership, we will be able to give additional resources to our Emergency Department providers.”
Telemedicine is used across the country for consults in a variety of medical specialties, including trauma care, mental health, burns, pediatric care, pharmacy, chronic care management, and many other areas. Telemedicine’s potential is vast and in some remote communities has become an accepted practice.
There is an estimated 200 telemedicine networks in the U.S. involving 2,000 medical institutions. Of these programs, it is estimated that about half are actively providing patient care services on a daily basis.
In 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services streamlined the process by which Medicare-participating hospitals partner. The rules reduce the burden and duplicative nature of the traditional privileging process for Medicare-participating hospitals and critical access hospitals, while still assuring accountability with the process.
For more information about Wesley Medical Center and its services, please visit wesleyintensivecaring.com. Information about Neosho Memorial Regional Medical Center is at www.neoshomemorial.com.