Banner Health News Center  

Banner Health program improves stroke care in Northeastern Colorado


BRUSH, Colo. (Jan. 15, 2013) — Banner Health knows that when it comes to treatment for stroke, every second counts.

For this reason, Banner Health is partnering with Swedish Medical Center to introduce a telestroke program at East Morgan County Hospital in Brush. This program will provide the fastest and most advanced treatment for stroke patients utilizing robotic technology. The stroke robot will be available in Brush on Jan. 28.

This 24/7 stroke and neurology state-of-the-art technology uses secured video links to provide patients immediate, around-the-clock access to board-certified neurologists who are experts in stroke care.

When healthcare providers in the Brush hospital suspect a person is having a stroke, they will use the telemedicine program to call a neurologist at Swedish Medical Center in Denver. That neurologist will use a high-definition camera that is placed on the robot at the patient’s bedside to examine patients. The robot also has a screen and microphone to provide two-way video and audio communication. The neurologist can assess and interview the patient, and talk to family members and other care providers just as if he or she was in the room. Most importantly, the neurologist can provide the valuable consultation about the plan of care for the patient with the on-site Emergency Department physician.

East Morgan County Hospital CEO Linda Thorpe states, “Through this partnership we are excited to offer this expanded service and 24/7 stroke neurology coverage to our patients.”

Each year about 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke.  It is the country’s third-leading cause of death.  Risk factors for stroke include hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking and sickle cell anemia.

There are two main types of stroke and treatment for each type is different:

  • An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked due to a clot in an artery. This clot blocks the flow of blood, and the oxygen it carries, to the brain.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke is bleeding from the small brain arteries into the brain.
  • A third event called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a temporary blockage that lasts a few minutes but does not cause brain damage.  Although not an actual stroke, a TIA can be a precursor to an actual stroke.

Each type of stroke requires a different type of treatment, which may be given in a rural facility or may require transport to a facility offering more specialized service. Having the telestroke program allows the neurosurgeon from Swedish to consult with the Emergency physician on site and possibly alleviate the need for the patient to be transferred to a different hospital.

Stroke statistics:
(Source: National Stroke Association)

  • 795,000 people in the U.S. suffer strokes each year
  • 133,000 people in the U.S. die each year because of stroke
  • From 1997-2007, the stroke death rate fell by 34 percent and the number of deaths fell by 18 percent
  • There are about 7 million stroke survivors
  • Up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable.

EDITORS’ NOTE: If you would like to attend a demonstration of the stroke robot and interview healthcare providers at Swedish Medical Center in Denver or East Morgan County Hospital in Brush, please call to make arrangements.

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