Stroke patients living outside large cities can benefit from hospital doctors using a telemedicine programme rather than traditional telephone consultations, new research has revealed.
“STRokE DOC” technology can “transport” stroke specialists via computer desktop or laptop to a patient’s bedside using video, audio and internet technology, the study at the San Diego Medical Centre in the US found. The telemedicine system enabled doctors to make good treatment decisions, and better ones than telephone consultations, when evaluating stroke patients across distant sites, the researchers said.
It allowed the stroke expert real-time visual and audio access to the patient, medical team and medical data at the remote site, and enabled patients and their families to see, hear, and communicate directly with the physician.
The researchers, writing in Lancet Neurology, concluded that telemedicine was superior than telephone consultations. They found that in 98% of telemedicine consultations and in 82% of telephone consultations, physicians made correct treatment decisions. The findings could lead to some immediate changes in how stroke patients in remote areas are evaluated and treated.
“The results of this trial show that telemedicine is efficacious for making acute medical decisions. Our results support the use of telemedicine to make urgent treatment decisions,” the report’s authors added.
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