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Published on November 21, 2011

AMH Partners with Phoenixville Hospital to Provide Telemedicine Services to Patients with Stroke Symptoms

PHOENIXVILLE, PA (November 21, 2011)—Patients suffering from stroke symptoms at Phoenixville Hospital are now able to have a stroke consultation by neurologists at Abington Memorial Hospital via telemedicine technology. A new partnership between Phoenixville Hospital and Abington Memorial Hospital (AMH) enables Phoenixville patients to benefit from the expertise of seven board-certified neurologists who are experienced in the evaluation of acute stroke patients and the administration of rt-PA, the clot busting medication used to treat stroke symptoms. Abington neurologists will staff the telemedicine service 24/7.

Steve Tullman, CEO, Phoenixville Hospital (PH), says, “The beauty of telemedicine services is that it brings off-site specialty services directly to the patients and physicians who need them at exactly the time when they need them. Research proves that telemedicine can result in a reduction of unnecessary transfers and improved quality of care. We are excited to be able to bring this important service to our community through our partnership with the talented physicians at Abington Memorial Hospital.”

Telemedicine is being accomplished with a system that interfaces with the patient at PH using an on-site telemedicine unit that is lightweight and very mobile. On the AMH side, when the One-Call Transfer Center is notified, the AMH neurologist will log into their secured laptop. The videoconferencing allows for the patient to be visible on the doctor’s computer screen, enabling a neurological assessment and access to lab results and imaging studies.

Laurence Merlis, president and chief executive officer, Abington Memorial Hospital, says, “We at Abington Memorial Hospital are delighted to have been chosen by Phoenixville Hospital as its partner in stroke care. As a suburban tertiary care referral center, we are committed to a partnership that maximizes resources efficiently to deliver the best care and extend the reach of highly specialized services to communities using telemedicine.”

The telemedicine service at Phoenixville Hospital enables stroke patients to be evaluated quickly by AMH neurologists, who will determine whether or not the patient’s symptoms require the administration of intravenous clot-busting drugs (rt-PA).

According to Qaisar Shah, M.D., director, Neurointerventional and Neurocritical Care, Neurosciences Institute at Abington Memorial Hospital, “Patients who are experiencing stroke symptoms and receive intravenous rt-PA will be transferred to AMH, including those needing highly specialized services, such as intra-arterial rt-PA (which delivers clot-busting medications directly to the brain through a catheter), and advanced interventional or surgical procedures.”

AMH has the technology to deliver highly specialized stroke care. The hospital’s facilities include a dedicated neuro-endovascular interventional laboratory with biplane technology and 3-D imaging, believed to be one of the newest such technologies in the country. Abington’s Stroke Center was the first in Pennsylvania to earn the Gold Seal of Approval from the Joint Commission. In 2008, Abington’s stroke program was awarded the American Stroke Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award.

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