Telehealth is a surveillance system that provides around-the-clock, proactive patient monitoring. It uses bidirectional audio/video technology to enable real-time conversations—between patients and treatment teams, as well as between patients and their families—even if they’re in different locations.
Northwell Health hospitals were the first in the New York metropolitan area to offer 24-hour remote monitoring of patients by critical-care physicians and nurses in intensive care units (ICUs). By using this technology for stroke, psychiatry, emergency department (ED) and other critical-care patients, we’ve been increasing access to health care and improving outcomes.
Telestroke is specialty care provided by stroke neurologists (doctors with special training in the nervous system) to ED patients who have signs and symptoms of a stroke. The stroke neurologists are consulted to assess the patient via video and audio. They make recommendations to the ED team for advanced diagnostic studies and treatment interventions. To provide an ongoing, real-time consultation, the telestroke network is enabled with a special platform that provides a two-way portable video conferencing system as well as a dedicated link between imaging systems. The physician assessment is also supported by Northwell’s Center for Emergency Medical Services, should the patient need additional care.
Telestroke in our EDs
Some of our Northwell Health emergency departments are equipped with telestroke services. This means 24-hour coverage by a team including neurologists with special training in stroke to assist our emergency departments in the assessment and treatment of stroke patients.
How our telestroke service works:
- A patient arrives at a Northwell emergency department with a possible diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke
- The ED stroke team is activated and a rapid assessment is completed
- Brain imaging is performed and telestroke remote consultation is started
- Within minutes, the telestroke neurologist joins the ED team in caring for the patient
- The communication is seamless between the teams and the patient
- Treatment options and recommendations, including the administration of IV tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), are discussed. If necessary, patients may be transferred to another hospital for additional care. EMS facilitates the transfer of care.
Symptoms of stroke
Signs of stroke in men and women include:
- Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination
- Sudden severe headache with no known cause
Call 911 right away if you or someone else has any of these symptoms.
Acting F.A.S.T. is key for stroke
Remember F.A.S.T.—it can help stroke patients get the treatments they desperately need. The stroke treatments that work best are available only if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms. Stroke patients may not be eligible for these if they don’t arrive at the hospital in time.
If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:
- F - Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
- A - Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
- S - Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is the speech slurred or strange?
- T - Time: If you see any of these signs, time is crucial. Call 911 right away.
Note the time when any symptoms first appear. This information helps healthcare providers determine the best treatment for each person. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
- Stroke kills more than 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.
- Someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. Every 4 minutes, someone dies of a stroke.
- Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke. About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
About two million brain cells die each minute during a stroke, so immediate care is critical. When a patient arrives at one of our emergency departments with stroke-like symptoms, our team of board-certified, emergency medical physicians takes immediate action.