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Robot Enhances Stroke Care

St. Charles County residents will now have even faster access to acute stroke care as the Washington University/Barnes-Jewish Hospital Stroke Network strengthens its ties with Progress West HealthCare Center.

On Stroke and the Importance of Timely Treatment

“Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States,” says Jude Reed, MD, emergency department medical director at Progress West and Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital. “Delays in treatment can lead to loss of brain function or worse. Progress West is a stroke-ready hospital, and the affiliation with Barnes-Jewish Hospital provides access to one of the nation’s best stroke teams.”

A new telemedicine robot, dubbed STAN (system to assist neuro-stroke team) by the emergency room staff members who work with it, is now housed at Progress West HealthCare Center, a member of BJC HealthCare, in O’Fallon, Mo. STAN allows Washington University stroke specialists, located 26 miles to the east, to be remotely present when a patient with a suspected stroke comes to the Progress West emergency department. The robot and the Barnes-Jewish stroke team work collaboratively and in real time with Progress West physicians to diagnose stroke patients, begin timely treatment with the clot-busting drug tPA and arrange transport to Barnes-Jewish if needed.

On How STAN Works

Manufactured by InTouch Health, STAN facilitates communication with Barnes-Jewish via a wireless internet connection. It is the second robot in use by a Washington University/Barnes- Jewish stroke network hospital. Parkland Health Center, another member of BJC HealthCare, in Farmington, Mo., about 60 miles south of St. Louis, started using a robot in its emergency department in January 2011.

When a suspected stroke patient arrives at Progress West, a stroke expert at Barnes-Jewish uses a computer and joystick to maneuver the robot. A two-way audio/video feed allows the doctor and patient to see and hear each other. The stroke specialist can then conduct a neurological exam and interact directly with the patient, family and medical staff. In addition, the stroke expert receives real-time feeds of vital signs, test results and imaging.

On the Benefits of Telemedicine

“The robot is an effective tool in helping us collaborate with the Progress West emergency staff to get patients diagnosed and appropriate treatment started as quickly as possible,” says Renee B. Van Stavern, MD, co-director of the Barnes-Jewish stroke care team. “STAN enhances our relationship with Progress West and benefits patients who live in that area.”

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