Telestroke Care for Veterans

According to an article appearing in “The Rural Connection-Fall 2019”, published by the Office of Rural Health at the Veterans Administration, emergency stroke care for veterans continues to improve with care provided by the VA’s National Telestroke Program.

In the last two years, the Telestroke program has provided acute stroke services in over 30 VA medical centers. The VA delivers service by using low cost highly reliable iPads. When a patient shows symptoms of a stroke, the Telestroke neurologist initiates a FaceTime video call to the iPad at the patient’s bedside.

Live conversations are held with the patient, caregivers, and on-site providers. The neurologist examines the patient, reviews the medical record, and guides treatment. In the first two years of operation, the program has conducted over 1,000 emergency consults with positive feedback.

Dr. Glenn Graham, VA Deputy National Director of Neurology reports, “The VA National Telestroke program has built a team with over 20 stroke neurologists in the U.S, and has developed new technological tools such as the Code Stroke mobile app.

“The Code Stroke mobile app organizes and manages repetitive aspects of care while providing decision support, structured interaction between neurologists and the ICU/ER staff, and automates documentation”, according to William Cerniuk, Director of VA’s Mobile Program.  The Code Stroke mobile app is scheduled to be released this year and is free to users worldwide.

Looking ahead, Dr. Graham notes, “Even large, urban VA hospitals can benefit from participating in the VA Telestroke program. The need for expert decision-making at the bedside is greater than ever. I can imagine a time when all VAs not having a resident or attending neurologists in the hospital at all times, will use telestroke to fill the gaps.”




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