Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center recently partnered with Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS) to provide Telestroke services at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital.

The Wake Forest Baptist Telestroke Network serves in approximately 24 counties in western North Carolina and southern Virginia. Its goal is to assist community hospitals in their efforts to prevent death and reduce disability caused by strokes. By collaborating with the Telestroke Network, ARHS now has access to 24/7 acute stroke experts via two-way real time video consultation. Thanks to this network, emergency room physicians are able to receive on demand consultation to help diagnose strokes, develop care plans and take action if necessary.

telestroke-articleWhat the patient can expect

The majority of stroke patients enter the hospital through the emergency department where they are treated by a team of skilled nurses and physicians. Thanks to Telestroke technology, a robot known as RP-Lite® has joined the care team. The technologically advanced robot allows stroke expert physicians, located in the Wake Forest Baptist Stroke Center, to have remote access via two-way live video and audio capability with patients and the medical team at Watauga Medical Center and Cannon Memorial Hospital. In addition, the stroke experts at Wake Forest Baptist have access to the patient’s medical records and diagnostic test results.

“The RP-Lite allows the Wake Forest Baptist stroke physicians to interact directly with patients, family members and hospital staff just as if they are standing at the bedside,” said Debbie Shook, Stroke Coordinator at ARHS. “Think of stroke as a brain attack – it is an emergency and every minute counts. Traditionally, the hospital would have to call in a neurologist to evaluate the patient which took time. Now, thanks to Telestroke, stroke patients can receive treatment much faster.”

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg, usually on one side of the body.
  • Difficulty speaking or understanding language.
  • Decreased or blurred vision in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden, severe headaches.
  • Unexplained loss of balance or dizziness.

If you or someone around you notice one or more of these warning signs, seek immediate medical attention – Call 911.

Watauga Medical Center has earned and maintained The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval for certification as a Primary Stroke Center since 2011.