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RMC expands services for stroke patients with 24/7 neurologist access
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Rockdale Medical Center is expanding telemedicine technology to provide emergency neurology services anytime for stroke patients.

Teleneurology allows emergency room physicians to have round-the-clock access to neurologists via real-time, two-way audio and video communication. The hospital recently partnered with TriStar Stroke to provide 24/7 stroke care to patients.

The teleneurology program puts an emergency neurologist at the patient's bedside within 10 minutes using an interactive two-way audiovisual connection by computer, Wi-Fi and high-definition camera. Board-certified neurologists work with emergency room physicians to consult with patients, view CT scans and recommend appropriate treatment. This speedy access to diagnosis and treatment can increase the likelihood of stoke patients maintaining functional independence.

Within seconds of a request for a consultation, a Rockdale Medical Center physician can position the telemedicine robot at a patient's bedside and connect via the Internet to a TriStar neurologist specializing in stroke care. The robot provides two-way audio and video communication and many remote presence devices, such as an electronic stethoscope. The TriStar neurologist can remotely examine a patient's ability to move and speak and even zoom in to allow a full exam.

By ensuring immediate access to a neurologist around the clock, patients have the best opportunity to receive time-critical medications such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), which can save brain function and reduce disability. As a result, emergency physicians can more quickly treat stroke patients in the ER and reduce or eliminate long-term stroke impacts on patients.

"Being designated as a Primary Stroke Center means Rockdale Medical Center has met the standards put forth by The Joint Commission for providing high quality care to stroke patients," said RMC Chief Operating Officer James Atkins. "We want to continue to enhance the care we provide to our stroke patients, as well as provide additional support to our local physicians. By partnering with TriStar Stroke, we are confident that we are fulfilling that commitment to our community."