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Patients Receive Immediate, Advanced Care for Strokes

Photo 1 fbMcKenzie Health System Provides Direct Access to Neuro-Experts

Sandusky, Mich. – Prompt treatment of a stroke can mean the difference between life and death – or between recovery and disability. McKenzie Health System (MHS) is pleased to announce that patients will continue to have direct access to a network of neuroscience specialists who can treat stroke most effectively; this is the result of an ongoing affiliation with the St. John Providence Health System Van Elslander Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

Photo: Mark Hamed, MD, MBA, Emergency Department Medical Director and Konnie Phillips, Emergency Department Manager, stand beside the new FirstExam™ Mobile Telemedicine Station in McKenzie Health System’s Emergency Room.

In the MHS Emergency Department (ED), staff can consult with the Stroke On-call network of neuroscience specialists any time of the day or night regarding patients experiencing stroke like symptoms. This is especially important since stroke treatment decisions are greatly influenced by timing.   MHS’ ability to effectively treat people who are having a stroke is directly related to how quickly it is diagnosed.  Early treatment may minimize damage to the brain if treated within the first few hours.

“We’re continually enhancing technology to provide our patients new choices for neurological care that were unavailable only a few years ago,” said Steve Barnett, President and CEO of MHS. “The partnership between MHS and the St. John Providence Health System Van Elslander Neuroscience Center of Excellence helps coordinate resources to benefit our community.”

One significant enhancement in the technology utilized by MHS is their recent purchase of the FirstExam™ Mobile Telemedicine Station, which combines software and equipment capabilities with a computer viewing screen that allows remote physicians to see the patient.  This new telemedicine station is able to interface with medical records and images from the referring hospital even if they are not compatible systems, thus allowing the remote specialist to review patient information quickly and accurately. It also provides the ability to add equipment that previously could not be, for example stethoscopes, dermatology cameras, and ultrasound, which will allow us to expand the types of specialists using the station.  Lastly, the station can now be accessed from almost any smart device (iPAD, iphone, laptop), so it quickly gets the specialist in contact with the referring hospital. Previously our telemedicine station had

limited video and audio quality; this new station is now HD quality with robust network connections requiring very little bandwidth.

Through these partnerships and highly advanced computer technology, MHS patients have rapid access to a network of exceptionally skilled experts in the treatment of a stroke. Within moments of arrival at the Emergency Department, patients with symptoms of a stroke see a MHS physician who is able to consult with a stroke expert in the Telemedicine Network to seek the best course of treatment for each patient.

The focus of MHS on telemedicine started in 2012 with funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Their Rural Health Network Development Grant helped MHS purchase computer and robotic technology that allowed remote consultations with neuroscience experts in the metro-Detroit area. This beneficial affiliation strengthens MHS’s network and expertise that staff can tap into 24/7.

“Timing is everything when it comes to the treatment of a stroke, and we’ve removed the issues of travel time and distance from local patients seeking consultations and treatment for the best care,” added Mark Hamed, MD, MBA, Medical Director of the Emergency Department at MHS.

If a patient is a candidate for treatment, one of the first options available is the use of a ‘clot busting’ medication called tPA, which helps open the blocked blood vessel and restore blood flow to the brain. tPA has been widely proven to slow the effects of stroke, especially when given within the first hours of symptoms. If treatment with tPA is not appropriate, MHS provides rapid transfer to a facility that offers advanced stroke intervention.

“By providing round-the-clock access to some of Michigan’s leading neuro experts via our Telemed program, and by continually improving our technology, we have significantly increased the odds of recovery for patients experiencing a stroke,” continued Hamed.

To find out more about the services and technology available at McKenzie, visit their website at www.mckenziehealth.org.

McKenzie Health System (MHS) is a not-for-profit medical and surgical hospital in Sandusky, Mich. Their team of healthcare professionals is dedicated to providing excellent, compassionate care and services to patients throughout the community. As part of their commitment to superior patient care, clinicians and staff work together to exceed expectations in quality of care, patient safety and patient satisfaction. For more information about MHS and the many services it provides, please visit their website at www.mckenziehealth.org or call them at 810-648-3770.    

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