Wed, Feb. 19

New telestroke program connects Verde Valley Medical Center to Mayo Clinic

Patients taken to the Verde Valley Medical Center - Sedona Campus in need of emergency care for a stroke will benefit from a new telestroke program connecting the campus to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.

In telestroke care, a patient can be assessed by a stroke specialist within minutes of arrival at the Emergency Department. A high-tech, secure video connection via a telemedicine cart is established between the Sedona campus and the stroke neurologist from Mayo Clinic. This allows the physician to perform a physical and neurological assessment with assistance from the nursing staff in Sedona.

"When a patient has suffered a stroke, every second counts," said Sherry Alton, director of Emergency and Trauma Services at Verde Valley Medical Center and the Sedona campus. "This technology helps us identify and treat different kinds of stroke effectively and quickly, and supports our ultimate goal - to improve the health of the people and communities we serve."

The telemedicine cart also allows for use of a stethoscope, and access to x-rays and CT scans of the brain, and to the patient's complete medical record.

One major benefit of the collaboration is patients with stroke symptoms who meet the criteria can often be administered clot-busting medications within the narrow window of time necessary to minimize permanent injury to the brain. Another benefit is that patients do not have to travel from the Sedona area for emergency skilled care.

"Excellent, capable emergency physicians at the Sedona campus can ring the telestroke hotline and be instantly connected with Mayo Clinic's stroke experts," said Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., Professor of Neurology and medical director of Mayo Clinic Telestroke. "Urgent and immediate virtual care can be provided to patients. Collaboration between stroke neurologists and physicians at the remote sites has resulted in 96 percent accuracy in diagnosing stroke."

The Mayo Clinic Telestroke Network also includes Verde Valley Medical Center and Flagstaff Medical Center.

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