Want To Cut Your Hospital’s Door-To-Needle Time By 13 Minutes?

September 28, 2016 by InTouch Health

There are times when 13 minutes can seem like an eternity, like when you’re sitting through movie previews in a theater. But in the world of stroke treatment, shaving 13 minutes off door-to-needle time is more like a heart-pounding Olympic event where every second matters.

Overlook Medical Center and Atlantic Health System in suburban New Jersey recently published a study in the journal, Stroke, which found that patients evaluated for stroke through the use of telehealth while in the ambulance en route to the hospital could be treated with the brain-saving drug alteplase 13 minutes faster than patients who were not evaluated in transit.

“Each passing minute of lost blood supply translates to more brain damage,” said John J. Halperin, lead study investigator and chair of the neurosciences department at Overlook. “Our observations suggest that in-transit telestroke services may provide a scalable, inexpensive way to expedite stroke treatment.”

In New Jersey, in-transit telestroke evaluations require close coordination between Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulances and Advanced Life Support (ALS) units. In Overlook’s service area, four ALS units were equipped with an InTouch Xpress telehealth device, which could be clamped onto BLS ambulance stretchers, allowing images to be transmitted by 4G wireless during patient transport. The stroke neurologist was able to instantly perform an evaluation in collaboration with the attending paramedics.

13 minutes may not sound like much, unless you ask a professional athlete or a stroke patient. For Great Britain’s Mo Farah, 13 well-planned minutes produced a gold medal in the men’s 5000-meter run in Rio. And 15 of the stroke patients in the Overlook/Atlantic study were also winners. They avoided possible death or disability by getting alteplase treatment 13 minutes faster than usual.