Telestroke Consultations

Extending UTMB's Neurosciences Expertise with Telemedicine Technology

Telemedicine (also sometimes referred to as “telehealth”) is the use of electronic information and telecommunications technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, public health, and health administration.

Technologies used in telehealth typically are videoconferencing, the Internet, store-and-forward imaging, streaming media, and terrestrial and wireless communications.

By using telemedicine, doctors at remote locations can consult with UTMB Health neurologists to provide care in your home community and try to avoid the need for transfer to another medical center. This focus on regional care often allows you to receive quality stroke care in your community.

Telemedicine operates on a hub-and-spoke system. A large urban medical center, generally certified as a primary or comprehensive stroke center, usually serves as the primary medical center (the hub). Remote locations, usually smaller regional rural or underserved hospitals, serve as the spokes. Many regional hospitals don't have neurologists on call to recommend the most appropriate care. In stroke telemedicine, for example, a vascular neurologist at the hub consults with doctors and people who've had acute strokes at the remote sites (spokes).

This technology can be useful in emergency situations in which a doctor at a regional hospital (the spoke) may need consultation if he/she suspects an acute stroke. After you have a CT scan at the spoke hospital, the vascular neurologist at the hub performs a live, real-time audiovisual consultation. The vascular neurologist may discuss your medical history and review your test results. The vascular neurologist evaluates you, works with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment and sends the treatment recommendation electronically to the spoke hospital.

Having a prompt evaluation increases the possibility that clot-dissolving therapies (thrombolytics) can be delivered in time to reduce stroke-related disability. To be effective, clot-dissolving therapies must be given within three to four and a half hours after you experience stroke symptoms.

Contact information

UTMB Center for Telehealth Research and Policy
Electronic Health Network
University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-1042

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