A team at the University of Virginia (UVA) Health System is working with the UVA Innovation’s USEED fundraising program to raise money for technology for stroke treatment and diagnosis.  According to a UVA Health System news release, clinicians with UVA are raising $10,000 to equip two additional local ambulances with the iTreat mobile telemedicine kit, with the goal of connecting paramedics through a secure video link with UVA’s specially trained stroke neurologists and emergency medicine physicians while they’re in the ambulance.

This rapid stroke diagnosis can enable treatment to begin as soon as patients arrive at the hospital. The UVA Health System news release notes that fast diagnosis and treatment is essential because tPA, an effective treatment for acute ischemic stroke patients, is only safe and effective if delivered within 3 hours of when symptoms begin. In addition, getting stroke patients treated quickly is even more challenging for patients in rural areas of central and southwest Virginia.

David Cattell-Gordon, director of the UVA Office of Telemedicine, explains, “iTREAT is really designed to help support patients from rural communities to get the care they need quickly. Every minute in a stroke matters.” Overall, the iTreat system seeks to make productive use of long ambulance transports to diagnose stroke patients. The UVA partners and the Thomas Jefferson Council for Emergency Medical Services to equip 12 ambulances in Albermarle, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties with the iTREAT toolkit

Sherita Chapman, MD, of UVA, states, “What we’re trying to improve is treatment times for stroke patients [in these counties].” The iTREAT technology is in the testing stage with local rescue squads with the hope of using it to care for Central Virginia patients in early 2014. Andrew Southerland, MD, a stroke neurologist, says, “If iTREAT is successful, we hope it can become a model for using telehealth to speed treatment for a range of emergency medical conditions.”

Source: University of Virginia Health System