SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saratoga Hospital has added teleneurology services—including telestroke care—to give patients 24/7 emergency access to neurologists who have extensive experience treating strokes. The hospital also uses teleneurology for inpatient consultations.
At Saratoga Hospital, as soon as a patient with stroke symptoms enters the Emergency Department, the hospital team issues a stroke alert and, using advanced video-conferencing technology, connects with a neurologist. The teleneurology equipment is mounted on a mobile cart, which allows the remote neurologist to participate in all aspects of the neurological exam—from the CT scan to the physical exam and patient interview—before recommending a course of treatment.
“For patients with stroke symptoms, every second counts. This technology is the fastest way to connect patients to a board-certified neurologist who specializes in treating this critical, potentially deadly condition,” said Dr. Robert Donnarumma, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and medical director of the stroke program at Saratoga Hospital.
Most patients can be treated at Saratoga Hospital with clot-busting medication. Those who need more advanced care are transferred to Albany Medical Center, Saratoga Hospital’s affiliate in the Albany Med Health System.
Patients who require observation and follow-up care—but not emergency interventions—are admitted to Saratoga Hospital. Depending on their condition, their care may include additional teleneurology consultations. Once patients are discharged, neurology care is provided by members of Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Neurology.
“Many of our patients prefer to be hospitalized close to home, and teleneurology helps make that possible,” said Jeffrey Winacott, administrative director, cardiovascular service line. “It is an excellent solution for hospitals of our size, which typically don’t have 24/7 emergency neurology coverage.”
The hospital had been training teams to facilitate teleneurology services before the pandemic and launched the program in the second half of 2020. By then, telehealth had emerged as a viable alternative to many in-person services, as patients and providers became more comfortable with remote care.
To date, Saratoga Hospital has used the teleneurology service for more than 750 stroke and inpatient consultations.