A survey of rural hospitals in the Pacific Northwest finds 88 percent of responding facilities lack access to a stroke neurologist, either in person or via phone or a telemedicine system.

The 60-member Regional Telestroke Initiative, who collaborate to reduce disparities in the treatment of stroke, conducted the survey.

The lack of access to appropriate specialists leads to low levels of patients receiving the recommended treatment for strokes caused by blood clots, according to the initiative. Sixty-four percent of survey respondents are considering or developing a telestroke program to link to appropriate specialists. Other survey results include:

* Of organizations providing telestroke services, the leading sources of funding are "hub" hospitals with stroke specialists (28 percent) and grants (21 percent).

* Equal numbers of respondents, 32.6 percent each, report that the hub hospital reimburses neurologists participating in telestroke consultations or there is no reimbursement.

For full survey results, click here.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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