Loyola makes stroke telemedicine partnerships with 4 hospitals
Loyola is forming a new type of partnership with referring physicians, and patients are the big winners.
Loyola subspecialists, including pediatric cardiologists, heart failure specialists, hepatologists, pediatric oncologists and neurologists are now renting space in referring physicians’ offices ranging from Chicago’s Chinatown to downstate Moline.
Rather than the patient traveling to Loyola’s main campus or to an ambulatory location, Loyola physicians are going to the patient’s doctor’s office. For a day or so each month, the Loyola specialist sees patients in what effectively is an office-within-an-office.
It is, in effect, a new version of house calls.
Pediatric cardiologist Joel Hardin, MD, partners with primary care physicians at several locations, including Alexian Brothers Medical Center in Elk Grove Village, St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates, Sherman Health in Elgin and Provena St. Mary’s Hospital in Kankakee.
“We are consultants to primary care physicians at all times,” Dr. Hardin said. “We never assume primary care of patients, and we never divert patients from the primary care physician’s practice.”
Dr. Hardin added that the partnerships provide significant benefits to patients. “And when you please the patient, you please the primary care physician.”
Other Loyola subspecialists who are partnering with primary care practices include:
- Scott Cotler, MD, hepatology: Moline, Rockford, Peoria, Chinatown and the Dearborn Station in downtown Chicago (The Rockford and Peoria hepatology sites are in outpatient centers attached to local hospitals.)
- Charles Hemenway, MD, pediatric hematology/oncology: Hoffman Estates
- Alain Heroux, MD, heart failure: Rockford, Elgin
- Marc Levine, MD, pediatric cardiology: Hoffman Estates
- Jose Biller, MD, neurology: Elk Grove Village
Loyola’s partnership with referring physicians has been developing since the mid-1990s. Loyola began opening suburban offices, which evolved into multi-specialty centers. Among the most recent examples is the Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge, which provides specialty care in orthopaedics, neurology/neurological surgery and more than 30 other specialties.
In 2010, Loyola affiliated with the Cancer Center at Kishwaukee Community Hospital in DeKalb. The affiliation enables patients to receive quick consultations and second opinions from multidisciplinary clinics at Loyola. CT and other scans are performed at Kishwaukee and transmitted to Loyola, so patients do not have to be tested again. Patients who require tertiary care, such as bone marrow transplants and complex surgical procedures, are referred to Loyola.
Loyola forming telestroke partnerships
Loyola has formed stroke telemedicine partnerships with four hospitals, and more centers are expected to participate.
Loyola’s vascular neurology subspecialists are on call 24/7. Telemedicine technology enables them to examine stroke patients remotely, in close collaboration with physicians at partner hospitals.
The Loyola neurologist can see, hear and talk to the patient and the patient’s family, physicians and nurses. Lab results and images are transmitted over secure, high-speed internet connections.
Current partner hospitals are Gottlieb Memorial Hospital in Melrose Park, St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Plymouth, Ind., St. Joseph’s Mishawka campus in Mishawaka, Ind., and most recently Porter Memorial Hospital in Valparaiso, Ind.
“We now have back-up for tough cases,” said Devin Zimmerman, MD, neurologist and chief medical information officer for St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. “Loyola has been very quick and consistent. This is a huge community benefit.”
In a policy statement, the American Heart Association said telestroke medicine can “overcome barriers to the delivery of proven, evidence-based therapies that might otherwise be unavailable to stroke patients.”
Jose Biller, MD, chair of Loyola’s Neurology Department, said that when every second is critical, telestroke “can instantly bring to the patient a vascular neurologist with a particularly high level of expertise.”
Loyola provides specialized stroke care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The American Stroke Association has awarded Loyola its Gold Performance Achievement Award for implementing a higher standard of stroke care. Loyola is certified by the Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center.
For more information on Loyola’s telestroke program, call (708) 216-8342.