Study: Kaiser Permanente Telestroke Program Accelerates Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

Study: Kaiser Permanente Telestroke Program Accelerates Stroke Diagnosis and Treatment

July 29, 2016
by Heather Landi
| Reprints

The use of a life-saving clot-dissolving treatment for patients with acute ischemic stroke increased by 73 percent following the implementation of a Kaiser Permanente telestroke program, according to a study published The Permanente Journal.

Stroke is a major cause of death and a leading cause of serious long-term disability in the United States. Acute ischemic stroke, the most common type, is caused by a clot obstructing the flow of blood and oxygen to the brain, which can result in the death of brain cells. Tissue plasminogen activator (or tPA) is the only FDA-approved treatment for acute ischemic stroke; however, it is often underutilized because the treatment's success depends on how quickly it can be administered.

The study into Kaiser Permanente’s telestroke program was conducted by researchers at Pasadena, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation. The telestroke program enables emergency physicians in hospitals without in-house stroke neurology and neurological intensive care units to activate a neurologist at a remote location, often before the suspected stroke patient arrives via ambulance to the emergency department.

According to a press release about the telestroke program study, diagnostic images of the patient's brain are available instantly to both the emergency and remote physicians via electronic health record, and the neurologist can assess the patient visually using video technology, all of which can reduce the time it takes to determine if the patient is a candidate for tPA. That drug, to be effective, must be administered within 60 minutes of the onset of stroke symptoms.

"Our findings add to the existing body of evidence supporting the value of telestroke programs for improving tPA administration rates among ischemic stroke patients at hospitals, which may have limited resources or access to neurological expertise," Adam L. Sharp M.D., study lead author, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation.

The study evaluated 2,657 patients at 11 Kaiser Permanente medical centers in Southern California that implemented a telestroke program between August 2013 and December 2014. “Prior to program implementation, eight of these centers were significantly less likely to administer tPA to ischemic stroke patients compared to the facility with the largest volume of stroke patients. After telestroke implementation, all facilities were at least as likely to administer tPA as the medical center with the largest volume of stroke patients, with one facility performing even better,” the study authors stated in the press release.

According to the study, researchers found that the use of tPA increased from 6.3 percent among acute ischemic stroke patients before telestroke implementation to almost 11 percent after implementation.

The study findings also indicated that overall bleeding complications did not rise and were overall slightly lower after telestroke was implemented (5.1 percent versus 4.9 percent).

In addition, two key quality measures improved: median time for a patient to receive diagnostic imaging was reduced from 56 to 44 minutes, and the time to tPA administration for those eligible was reduced from 66 to 55 minutes, according to the press release.

 

 

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

ONC Roundup: Senior Leadership Changes Spark Questions

The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) has continued to experience changes within its upper leadership, leading some folks to again ponder what the health IT agency’s role will be moving forward.

Media Report: Walmart Hires Former Humana Executive to Run Health Unit

Reigniting speculation that Walmart and insurer Humana are exploring ways to forge a closer partnership, Walmart Inc. has hired a Humana veteran to run its health care business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Value-Based Care Shift Has Halted, Study Finds

A new study of 451 physicians and health plan executives suggests that progress toward value-based care has stalled. In fact, it may have even taken a step backward over the past year, the research revealed.

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.