Prowers Medical Center Gets Quicker, Improved Stroke Care

HCA-HealthONE® Expands Access to Region’s Top Stroke Experts

(Lamar, CO) November 28, 2012 –  Lamar residents will have vastly improved access to stroke neurologists as Prowers Medical Center has become the newest member of CO-DOC, a remote presence robotics program. Joined with clinical innovations partners Blue Sky Neurosciences, Colorado Neurological Institute, InTouch Health and the HealthONE Stroke Care network, Prowers Medical Center will now offer an even higher level of care for their patients than before.

Committed to bringing the excellence in care possible to their patients, Prowers Medical Center is now home to Remote Presence Robotics, the latest in stroke technology. This means patients with stroke symptoms who arrive at their local ER can be assessed almost instantaneously by neurologists specializing in stroke. As a result, emergency physicians can more quickly treat stroke patients in their ER, and reduce or eliminate long-term stroke impacts on their patients.

“Every second counts in minimizing the damage a stroke can cause to the brain – quick assessment and personalized care are key,” says Dr. Chris Fanale, HealthONE Stroke and CO-DOC Medical Director. “Having this state-of-the-art telemedicine technology puts the stroke specialist instantly in the room with a patient and ER physician.  As a stroke neurologist, I can have a conversation with the patient and family, examine the patient’s ability to move and speak, and even zoom in to assess pupil reactivity. We can talk to EMS and ER staff, and assess monitors and vital signs immediately. There is no other system in the region that is currently offering this level of care to stroke victims.”

Immediate medical care of stroke can mean the difference between life and death. During a stroke, an estimated 30,000 brain cells die per second; meaning that time lost is brain lost. Evidence shows that a stroke patient’s outcomes and recovery are far better the quicker you can evaluate and treat the stroke.

The InTouch Health Remote Presence® telemedicine technology includes a camera and microphone for live two-way audio and video, and a computer, on a sleek, wheeled cart that is placed in an ER room. A CO-DOC/HealthONE Stroke Care specialist can connect a computer and joystick to the Remote Presence® unit via the Internet, and appear instantly on screen at the bedside of patients, much like video conferencing, interacting with family members and clinical staff in the room. The stroke specialist can control and zoom the camera to get closer to the patient, while accessing remote medical devices like electronic stethoscopes, otoscopes and monitoring.

“There are limited numbers of stroke neurologists and other specialists in our state – but this advanced technology allows experts to see patients at the bedside, from many miles away and much faster, without losing the precious time it takes to transport a patient or wait for a specialist to arrive at the ER,” says HealthONE Chief Medical Officer Dr. George Bussey. “Location and resources are no longer impediments to providing the safest first-class care that HealthONE is known for.”

Why CO-DOC?

  • Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the nation and the number three killer. It is estimated that 700,000 people in the U.S. experience a stroke each year. Despite these numbers, approximately 5.5 percent of stroke patients in the nation receive IV-tPA, the only FDA-approved treatment of ischemic stroke. In order to be administered safely and effectively, IV-tPA must be given within 4.5 hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. The CO-DOC program’s average IV-tPA rate is 21 percent.

How does CO-DOC benefit the community?

  • The program immediately brings experienced stroke neurologists to the bedside of patients in communities and hospitals that may not offer onsite specialty care physicians.
  • Treatment goals are to have 100% of eligible patients treated with IV-tPA.
  • Not a ‘doc in a box’ – this program brings community, physician and nurse, and EMS education on signs and symptoms of stroke in addition to access to specialists in the time of an emergency.

Where is CO-DOC?

  • Today there are 30 telemedicine systems in the CO-DOC network, eight of them are HealthONE facilities. These systems exist within 30 rural and urban locations in Colorado, Wyoming and Kansas.
  • In the past five years, more than 1,400 telemedicine consults have been conducted.
  • 100 of those patients were deemed appropriate to receive IV-tPA. This is 21 percent treatment rate, approximately four times the national rate.

SIDEBAR

Stroke is an EMERGENCY. Call 9-1-1 immediately if experiencing these warning signs:

Act FAST

Face: Is one side of the face drooping down?
Arm: Can the person raise both arms?
Speech: Is speech slurred or confusing; is the person unable to speak?
Time: Time is critical. Call 911 immediately.

About HealthONE
HealthONE is the largest healthcare system in the metro Denver area with 8,700 employees and 3,000 affiliated physicians. The health system is a Colorado company created in 1995 as a 50/50 joint venture between non-profit The Colorado Health Foundation, Colorado’s second largest charitable foundation, and various affiliates of HCA (NYSE: HCA).

 HealthONE includes: The Medical Center of Aurora and Centennial Medical Plaza; North Suburban Medical Center; Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Medical Center (P/SL) and Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children; Rose Medical Center; Sky Ridge Medical Center; Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital; Swedish Medical Center and Swedish Southwest ER; 13 ambulatory surgical centers; more than 30 occupational medicine/rehabilitation, specialty, and outpatient diagnostic imaging clinics; and AirLife Denver, which provides critical care air and ground transportation for an eight-state region.

 About Blue Sky Neurosciences

Blue Sky Neurosciences in Englewood, Colorado was established in January 2005. The physicians of Blue Sky Neurosciences are all university-trained and board certified in neurology. Chris Fanale, MD, who is fellowship-trained in stroke, is one of the partners in Blue Sky Neurosciences, and the Medical Director for the HealthONE Stroke Center and CO-DOC Telemedicine program as well as CNI’s Stroke Center.

 About Colorado Neurological Institute

Since its founding as a non-profit organization in 19988, Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI)’s mission is to enhance the delivery of personalized, comprehensive and state-of-the-art care to patients with neurological conditions through coordinated patient care, education, rehabilitation, research and outreach activities. CNI is the largest, most comprehensive neuroscience center in the Rocky Mountain region.

 About InTouch Health
InTouch Health provides comprehensive telemedicine solutions and expertise that enable physicians to perform real-time consults with patients. Through a single portal, physicians can access a host of purpose-built, FDA-cleared telemedicine devices to provide care anywhere across the continuum: homes, clinics, ambulances, procedure rooms, EDs, ICUs, and patient wards.  The InTouch Health Remote Presence telemedicine network is powered through its SureConnect® cloud-based infrastructure providing unparalleled connection quality and reliability, interoperability, workflow imaging and documentation, and services and support.  Wherever access to medical expertise is limited, InTouch Health’s Remote Presence telemedicine solutions can effectively extend the physician’s reach to manage patient care, thereby removing critical time and distance barriers. The Company has more than 375 hospital locations on six continents enrolled in its Remote Presence network for the delivery of telemedicine services such as stroke, critical care, cardiology, trauma, pediatrics, neonatology, psychiatry, language translation, and clinical education and surgical/procedure mentoring.

About Prowers Medical Center
Prowers Medical Center (PMC) is committed to providing preventative and healing medical care, health education and improved quality of life to the communities served in Prowers, Baca, Bent, and Kiowa counties.  Designated as a Critical Access Hospital, PMC offers a full continuum of patient and family-centered care, from primary care Providers in our Prowers Medical Group to hospital acute care as well as rehab/home health/other post acute care services.  For more information, please visit our website at www.prowersmedical.com.

-End-

PMC Press Release

Leslie Horna                                                                    Karen Bryant
Director, Corporate Communications        Chief Operating Officer
HealthONE                                                                       Prowers Medical Center
Leslie.Horna@HealthONEcares.com           Karen.Bryant@prowersmedical.com
303.584.6100                                                                 719.336.5147

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