Six hospitals in the North Carolina-based Vidant Health system will join Winston-Salem's Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Telestroke Network by the end of the year, Wake Forest Baptist announced in a statement Wednesday.
The Telestroke Network aims to reduce death and disability caused by strokes by joining forces with community hospitals to ensure they have constant access to Wake Forest Baptist's stroke experts via two-way live video and audio consultation, as well as image sharing technologies. The Network employs special telemedicine robots and carts that let Wake Forest Baptist stroke experts evaluate a patient and confer with emergency department doctors in real-time so they can decide the best course of care or action for the patient, Wake Forest Baptist explained.
Three of Vidant's hospitals are already fully operational within the network: Vidant Beaufort Hospital in Washington, Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville, and Vidant Edgecombe in Tarboro. Three other hospitals will be integrated later in 2016: Vidant Bertie Hospital in Windsor, Vidant Chowan Hospital in Edenton and Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital in Ahoskie.
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"Telestroke is a service that strengthens the care provided in the local community while providing access to state-of-the-art acute stroke interventions," said Charles H. Tegeler, M.D., medical director of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center's Telestroke Network, "We find that about half of telestroke consults result in patients remaining at the community hospital where they are treated to recuperate near to family and friends."
The Telestroke Network was started in 2009, and since then more than 2,200 consultations have been requested, Wake Forest Baptist reported.
"This program offered by Wake Forest Baptist gives us the opportunity to utilize technology to deliver care immediately and partner with a team that can help us save more lives across eastern North Carolina," said Todd Hickey, senior vice president at Vidant Medical Center.