Strokes are a leading cause of disability in the United States. When a stroke hits, there is no time to waste. That’s why the latest in health innovations work to get as much data to physicians in the ER before the patient even arrives.
Let’s take a mobile stroke unit as an example. The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) Medical School, in partnership with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center and powered by DICOM Grid’s image sharing platform, unveiled the country’s first Mobile Stroke Unit last February. Time is Brain aboard the mobile stroke unit! Let’s break down how the Cloud works to get patient imaging to physicians as quickly as possible.
UT health describes how the mobile stroke unit works – “On board the ambulance is a computed tomography (CT) scanner that allows a mobile stroke unit team member to quickly assess whether a patient is having a stroke caused by a blood clot and if so, the clot-buster tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can be administered.” This clot administer can greatly reduce the chance of disability caused by stroke if given to the patient within three hours of the stroke occurring.
Sometimes the stroke assessment cannot be done onsite. Telemedicine has helped provide sudden stroke care by top neurologists to rural and remote areas by reading and viewing studies anywhere with HTML5 viewing. Research shows that effective telestroke treatment in remote areas contributed to a 50% decrease in costly and time-consuming emergency room transfers from rural areas to the University Hospital.
One of the most immediate advantages of Cloud medical image sharing is how easily the platform can be set-up and integrated into use. Using VPNs can be limiting in trauma situations, but the availability of a web-based sharing portal makes it possible to upload and transfer exams on-demand. And for high-volume instances, gateways are simple to install making it easy to scale your entire image share program.
Stroke networks face a great amount of inbound volume. A site’s needs could vary from quick interpretation to full disaster recovery archiving. Enhanced workflows that allow for orders to be processed along with instant syncing of personal health information is a necessity.
A Coud network can provide endless opportunities for growth and scalability. Barrow Neurological Institute, an international leader in a wide variety of neurological conditions implemented an online patient portal that makes it easy for patients to upload complex images and reports in order to request a consultation. Within 30 days of rolling out the service, approximately 20% of online referrals resulted in new surgeries, many of them for out-of-state patients.
Telemedicine is not only beneficial to patients but also to the infrastructure of rural hospitals. “When rural patients know their hospital is using telemedicine, they have higher regard for that hospital and are less likely to bypass it for treatment at an urban facility,” said James Marcin, director of the UC Davis Children’s Hospital Pediatric Telemedicine Program.
Cloud-based image management tools are quickly gaining traction in the world of trauma transfers. Using web-based technology, DICOM images can quickly and safely be sent from outside facilities before and during patient transport. Cloud-based sharing solutions, like DICOM Grid’s, support image transfer and upload from a variety of inputs including modalities, PACS, or CDs. Hospitals can save time, money, and improve patient care through cloud innovations in the chaotic world of trauma care.