A recent news release reports that the Alabama Department of Public Health has awarded multiple grants to support the purchase of necessary equipment and training to extend improved stroke care expertise to hospitals in Montgomery, Prattville, and Andalusia areas through a new telestroke pilot project. The grants, which total $55,000, are intended to help establish a system to purchase this equipment for the pilot project. Specialists will use the videoconferencing technology to remotely examine the patient, confirm the diagnosis, interpret the brain images, and provide recommendations to the hospital’s physicians. The grants will ultimately help provide a timely response to stroke patients, Steve Suggs, MD, FAHA, medical director of the stroke center at Baptist Center South, says, adding that, “The grant monies are being utilized to enable technology that allows hospitals that don’t have the emergency neurology coverage to treat stroke patients in a timely manner.”

Additional benefits, according to the release, include the elimination of unnecessary transfers and a reduction in costs through shorter hospitalizations and a more accurate and timely diagnosis 

A partnership between the Montgomery-based Baptist Medical Center South, Prattville Baptist Hospital, and Andalusia Regional Hospital, comprises the project’s “hub-and-spoke” model, with Baptist Medical Center serving as the “hub,” and Prattville Baptist Hospital, and Andalusia Regional Hospital, serving as its “spokes.” The implementation of the pilot may also help cut costs for stroke care in the state. The conservative cost estimate for one stroke in Alabama is reported to be approximately $140,000, including hospitalization, treatment, and rehabilitation.

“The project has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of care given to stroke patients by saving precious time and delivering expert neurologic care to patients experiencing stroke systems.” Donald Williamson, MD, state health officer, says.

The Alabama Department of Public Health also encourages the public to become familiar with the symptoms of stroke and call 9-1-1 immediately if an individual experiences these symptoms or observes them in others.

Source: Alabama Department of Public Health