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Expert help available 24/7 for stroke patients

Stroke care experts at United Hospital in St. Paul will soon be accessible, 24-hours a day, to patients at River Falls Area Hospital via the Allina Telehealth Network.

For patients experiencing a stroke, rapid access to therapy that can restore cerebral blood flow improves the likelihood of a successful outcome.

The Allina Telehealth Network will allow neurologists to provide real-time assessment of stroke patients via Telehealth equipment located in the Emergency Department.

A consulting neurologist will work with the attending provider to develop a plan of care and will strive to keep care local when possible.

"Timeliness of care is especially important when caring for a stroke patient, since time essentially equals the amount of brain functioning that can be preserved," said Dave miller, River Falls Area Hospital president.

How does Telehealth work?

--The River Falls Area hospital Emergency Department physician reviews the patient's status and determines the need for stroke evaluation.

--The patient and physician then speak directly to the stroke neurologist via the Telehealth system.

--The neurologist conducts the patient exam via Telehealth equipment and evaluates the patient's data and CT scan.

--The neurologist determines whether the patient is a candidate for interventional treatment.

Neurologist and the attending physician collaborate to determine the best treatment plan for patient and treatment is started. For more severe cases, the patient is transferred to United Hospital for further intervention.