The Neuroscience Institute is developing a state-wide Telestroke Network to bring the expertise of Maine Medical Center's neurologists to community hospitals' emergency departments, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Using state-of-the-art videoconferencing and electronic transfer of CT scans, the Network gives community-based physicians timely access to consultations from specialists skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients.
When time means brain, the ability of this system to expedite stroke diagnosis and treatment is crucial to ensuring the best patient outcomes. In fact, a recent study in The Lancet Neurology comparing telemedicine to telephone consultation showed that video consultation with a stroke expert resulted in correct treatment decisions more often than telephone consults (98% versus 82%).
In recognition of the value of this initiative, MMC was awarded the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Acute Stroke grant. The award was used to facilitate development of the telestroke program with the medical center's collaborating partner, MaineGeneral Medical Center. The program began with a pilot implementation at MaineGeneral, and is currently in the process of expansion to other hospitals in the state.