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Section 8.4

Creating a Telestroke Program: Establishing Telestroke Technology Infrastructure

4th Edition
2012-2013 UPDATE
September 30, 2013

4.1 Introduction

Telestroke technology enables clinicians to deliver health care services, expertise and information in real time over distance, thereby improving timely access and eliminating barriers to patient care. Benefits to using telemedicine technology for healthcare delivery can be realized in terms of cost-saving, time savings, increased availability of higher standards of care and the speed with which care can be delivered. A list of technical recommendations has been developed to assist with the advancement of telestroke programs across the continuum and within any jurisdiction.

In the first section of this chapter, the user will find the technical requirements for both the provider and recipient sites to develop a scheduled telestroke program, supporting stroke prevention, patient education and rehab services. Part two reviews the technical and clinical needs for an acute stroke program, which is more resource-intensive and involves multiple portfolios. Lastly, checklists are provided to support telehealth readiness, space and equipment recommendations.

Success of telestroke integration within any organization relies on collaboration of clinicians with telehealth staff and IT staff. It is important to ensure that all essential constituents are represented throughout all phases of planning and development.

It is understood that some sites may not have or be able to implement the entire technology infrastructure at the onset of a telestroke program.  This technological infrastructure can be built on and expanded over time.  During early development stages, sites considering or planning for Telestroke, or any telemedicine application, where there may be a lack of capacity in or absence of video-conferencing technology may want to consider using online video-calling software applications (e.g. Skype) to provide tele-consultation. These programs can be used to facilitate remote consultation at no cost to the patient or healthcare facility using interfaces that are often already familiar to patients and staff.  Using these technologies will enable early access to stroke expertise and increase equity in stroke patient care.  These technologies should be considered the minimal capacity and be built upon, rather than being considered sufficient in place of comprehensive telemedicine video technologies for full telestroke program operations.

Table of Contents

4.1    Introduction
4.2    Readiness Assessment for Scheduled Telestroke Consultations
4.3    Acute Telestroke Technical Implementation Checklist
4.4    Telestroke Video Equipment Testing Guide
4.5    Room Furnishings and Cosmetic Considerations
4.6    Telestroke Mock Consultation Plan – Referring Site