NASHVILLE, Tenn. August 8, 2011 — HCA’s TriStar Health System has launched a collaborative telemedicine network to provide patients the most progressive and immediate stroke care available in Tennessee.
“TriStar’s telemedicine network bolsters our commitment to technology as a critical component in reshaping the immediate delivery of stroke assessment and treatment,” said Ravi Chari, M.D., chief medical officer at TriStar Health System. “Timeliness is everything in minimizing the damage a stroke can cause to the brain. This state-of-the-art telemedicine technology puts our neurologists instantly in the room with a stroke patient, saving time and ultimately saving lives.”
TriStar equipped five area hospitals with a telemedicine robot, creating the first and largest telemedicine network for stroke care in Tennessee. These five hospitals include Centennial Medical Center, Skyline Medical Center, Southern Hills Medical Center, StoneCrest Medical Center and Horizon Medical Center. The telemedicine technology will be available at TriStar sister facilities, Summit Medical Center and Hendersonville Medical Center, by this fall.
The RP-Lite® robots, developed by InTouch Health, allow neurologists to virtually consult with patients, family members and healthcare staff at a moment’s notice. Within seconds of a request for a consultation, a stroke neurologist seated at a laptop computer connects via the Internet to the RP-Lite® robot positioned at a patient’s bedside in a TriStar emergency room. The robot provides two-way audio and video communication and a host of remote presence devices, such as an electronic stethoscope. The neurologist can examine a patient’s ability to move and speak and even zoom in to assess pupil reactivity, allowing a remote physician to complete a full neurological exam.
Telemedicine broadens the reach of neurologists to residents living in communities where access to specialized stroke care may not be available. Currently, there is an average of four neurologists per 100,000 people living in the United States. This remote technology ensures ER patients with stroke symptoms receive instantaneous evaluation by a neurologist specializing in stroke care.
“TriStar will be the only health system in the region to offer this level of care to stroke patients,” Dr. Chari said. “There are a limited number of stroke neurologists in Tennessee. This advanced technology provides the perfect opportunity to share our expertise with patients in need of care across the state, without losing the critical time it takes to transfer a patient or wait for a stroke specialist to arrive in the ER.” TriStar Health System is the region’s largest, most comprehensive healthcare provider with 18 hospitals and 10 ambulatory surgery centers in Tennessee, South Central Kentucky and Northern Georgia. As a system, our hospitals are supported by approximately 5,300 physicians and nearly 13,000 employees.
TriStar Health System facilities feature state-of-the-art technology and pioneer new medical procedures every day to accommodate the needs of the more than 110,000 patient admissions and nearly 525,000 Emergency Department visits annually. For more information about TriStar Health System, or for a physician referral, call TriStar MedLineSM at 615-342-1919 or toll-free outside of Nashville at 1-800-242-5662 or visit TriStarHealth.com.