Telemedicine Carries MUMC’s Stroke Expertise to Rural Areas

(August 22, 2011) - A new telestroke program at Memorial University Medical Center (MUMC) is providing life-saving stroke assistance in rural regions of Georgia. Utilizing real-time audio and video conferencing, neurologists at MUMC can assess a patient and communicate treatment plans with doctors in regions that do not have a neurologist available.

The telestroke platform was developed in collaboration with Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, Inc. (GPT) and Second Opinion Telemedicine Solutions. Memorial University Medical Center is the first partner in the GPT network to use the program. Currently, MUMC is working with Jeff Davis Hospital in Hazlehurst and Bacon County Hospital in Alma.

"Access to telemedicine services is especially important in stroke because time lost is brain lost," said Joel Greenberg, M.D., co-medical director of Memorial Stroke and one of the developers of the telestroke platform. "Patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS) require immediate attention and stroke expertise; services rarely offered in smaller community hospitals. Through the use of audio and video, telestroke essentially adds a neurologist to the rapid response teams of underserved regions, providing better stroke care for the local community."

According to the American Stroke Association, stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the primary cause of adult disability. Approximately 795,000 strokes occur in the U.S. each year, resulting in medical and disability costs of almost $74 billion annually.

HealthGrades ranked Memorial University Medical Center No. 1 in Georgia and among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the U.S. for stroke treatment. The stroke program at MUMC holds The Joint Commission's Gold Seal of Approval for stroke care. And, MUMC was the first hospital in Georgia and one of the first five in the nation to receive the Target: Stroke Honor Roll Award form the American Heart Association /American Stroke Association.

Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth, Inc. is the leading agency in Georgia focusing on increasing access to healthcare through innovative use of technology including telemedicine, health information exchange, and telehealth.

Memorial University Medical Center is a two-state healthcare organization serving a 35-county area in southeast Georgia and southern South Carolina. The system includes its flagship hospital, a 530-bed academic medical center; Memorial primary and specialty care physician networks; a major medical education program; business and industry services; and NurseOne, a 24-hour call center. You can follow us at facebook.com/memorialhealth, twitter.com/mymemorial, and youtube.com/memorialhealth.