A new collaboration between CoxHealth and Citizens Memorial Hospital now allows patients in the Bolivar area to receive treatment even more quickly after experiencing a stroke.
The new program, called Telestroke, remotely connects stroke patients at CMH to neurologists at Cox South, the region's only DNV-certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. The program allows treatment to begin within minutes of a patient's arrival at the hospital.
“We’re excited to partner with CoxHealth in bringing this life-saving resource to the communities we serve. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in Missouri, and we are dedicated to improving those outcomes for our patients suffering from cerebrovascular disease,” says Michael Calhoun, CMH chief operating officer. “Telestroke serves as an innovative solution for meeting the unique needs of our rural health care system and ensuring that our patients always receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place for best patient outcomes.”
Here’s how it works: When patients present to CMH with stroke-like symptoms in a category called "BEFAST" – balance, eyes, face, arm, speech, time – staff on site will quickly perform brain imaging and contact CoxHealth, where they are connected with a neurologist.
A tele-video visit will take place so the neurologist can evaluate the patient in real time. This allows patients who qualify to receive tPA, the clot-busting medication, which must be given within a certain amount of time after symptoms begin. It also allows patients who require interventions to be rapidly transferred to other facilities with higher levels of care.
"This project demonstrates the commitment that CMH and CoxHealth have to advancing stroke care for the region,” says Dr. Benjamin Lisle, medical director of Stroke at CoxHealth. “People of the Ozarks deserve the best stroke care that we can provide, and both of our institutions are committed to meeting that need.”
This is the first hospital outside CoxHealth to be connected with Cox South for Teleneurology services. However, Cox Medical Center Branson, Cox Monett Hospital and Cox Barton County Hospital all utilize Telestroke to connect with Cox South and serve patients in their areas.