Telemedicine robot will bring Loyola specialist to stroke patient’s bedside
PALOS HEIGHTS, Ill. – Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital have launched an innovative telemedicine program that enables specialists from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to assist physicians at Palos in diagnosing and treating strokes in patients.
Loyola neurologists who specialize in stroke care are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Working in close collaboration with Palos physicians and nurses, Loyola’s stroke specialists use a telemedicine robot to conduct patient exams remotely, in real time. The robot is equipped with a microphone and a full-color, high-definition camera. The robot instantly transmits electronic medical records, lab results and images such as CT scans over a secure, high-speed internet connection. Working from the remote location, the Loyola neurologist can see, hear and talk to the patient and the patient's family, doctors and nurses. Since January, Loyola has cared for 26 stroke patients from Palos using the Telestroke program to provide advanced stroke care.
The telestroke program is among the patient-care initiatives underway from the innovative affiliation between Loyola and Palos. The affiliation focuses on coordinated and collaborative patient care. Palos patients receive greater access to Loyola’s renowned specialty care services, such as neurosciences and oncology, while having continued access to Palos’ primary care network.
“Our goal is to help our patients, in the community and close to home, making it ultimately easier for patients to receive university-level care here at Palos,” said Craig Adams, MD, director of Hospital Medicine at Palos Community Hospital. “When a patient requires highly specialized stroke care, such as neurosurgery, our relationship with Loyola will provide access in a timely and efficient manner.”
Daniel Post, Loyola’s executive vice president for Network Development and System Integration, said patients in the southwest suburbs won’t have to travel to Loyola. “Instead, we are bringing our services to patients in their own communities,” Mr. Post said.
A stroke kills 32,000 brain cells each second, so when treating patients, every second counts. Neurologists say the sooner they can initiate appropriate treatments, the better patients will do.
The telestroke program will help ensure that patients receive fast, high-quality treatments at their local hospital. In certain complex cases, the Loyola neurologist will recommend the patient be transferred to Loyola for surgery or other advanced care that is not available at a community hospital.
Palos recently invested $50 million in a state-of-the-art medical records program that is compatible with the system used by Loyola, making it easier for clinicians to access medical records across both systems.
Palos is one of five community hospitals now participating in Loyola’s telestroke network. The program was created by nationally recognized physician experts who have years of experience in direct bedside applications of telemedicine technology.
The American Stroke Association has awarded Loyola its Gold Performance Achievement Award for implementing a higher standard of stroke Care. Loyola’s Stroke Center also has received the Gold Seal of Approval® for stroke care from the Joint Commission.
Loyola ranks among the top three Illinois hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospitals rankings. Loyola’s neurosciences program is rated High Performing.