Life Image, swyMed initiative aims to speed telestroke care

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A network for sharing clinical and imaging data is teaming up with a telemedicine solution provider to create technology to aid stroke treatment at rural and community hospitals.

The collaborative effort pairs Life Image and swyMed, which announced the strategic partnership this past week to enhance telestroke capabilities.

The companies say their effort aims to improve the ability for physicians in small facility settings to collaborate and coordinate care while seamlessly integrating relevant clinical and imaging data into a telemedicine encounter. The collaboration also is expected to increase swyMed’s ability to connect to neurologists and primary stroke centers that are already part of the Life Image network.

The partnership is expected to address data access and specialist shortage issues by offering immediate connectivity, even in the most bandwidth-challenged areas, to stroke specialists across the U.S., and integrating all relevant medical data into the telemedicine encounter to enable diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.

“Providers have long struggled with interoperability and data-integration issues across systems and locations, and these issues come to a head when caring for a stroke patient,” says Matthew A. Michela, president and CEO of Life Image. “Paramedics and emergency room doctors especially need to immediately reach stroke specialists and provide them with the patient’s neurological exam and other imaging and clinical data in order to achieve the best-possible outcome for the patient.”

Better enabling physicians in rural and community hospitals is essential to providing optimal and speedy treatment to minimize the potential for irreversible brain damage, executives say.

“Despite widespread knowledge that every moment counts when it comes to treating acute ischemic stroke, a majority of stroke patients do not receive adequate treatment in time due to lack of access to primary stroke centers and appropriate specialists,” says Evie Jennes, president and chief commercial officer of swyMed. “By engaging with Life Image, we can now provide immediate access to imaging and clinical data to speed up diagnosis and treatment, as well as connect swyMed users to premier neurology centers and leading research facilities through Life Image’s extensive provider network.”

The partnership will aid swyMed’s telestroke solution by combining the exceptional bandwidth management capabilities in its videoconferencing platforms with access to relevant medical records, diagnostic imaging and other critical clinical data, which will be made available through the Life Image clinical image exchange—now integrated into the workflows of 80 percent of all large health systems and academic medical centers in the U.S.

The engagement will also provide Life Image hospital customers with a value-added telestroke solution as part of the Life Image Interoperability Suite, to extend neurology departments’ reach beyond the walls of the organization and deliver timely, high-quality care for patients affected by stroke.

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