New teleneurology program in the works

Will extend care to patients in rural Illinois

In what's been billed as one of the first teleneurology programs in the state of Illinois, the 199-bed Saint Anthony's Health Center will team up with an acute telemedicine provider to deliver emergency on-call services to Illinois patients. 

Officials say patients suffering from stroke or other neurologic emergencies will have immediate 24/7 access to board certified, fellowship trained neurologists via telemedicine provided at the Alton, Ill.-based Saint Anthony’s Health Center, an acute care facility serving central Illinois and the surrounding areas. 
 
[See also: Mayo Clinic extends telemedicine to Navajo Nation.]
 
“We’re always investing in new technologies in order to provide our community the best possible care,” said E.J. Kuiper, president and chief executive officer at Saint Anthony’s Health Center, in a news release.  
 
“As a member of the MidAmerica Stroke Network, we’re committed to providing fast, high-level stroke care,” added Dr. Ghanem Abusbeih, Saint Anthony’s Health Center’s Emergency Department Medical Director. “Teleneurology expedites that care. The teleneurologist is available within fifteen minutes and is immediately able to evaluate the patient’s CT scan which was performed upon their arrival. It’s incredibly efficient and beneficial for our stroke patients.”
 
Saint Anthony's Health Center will tap Specialists On Call for the teleneurology services.  currently provides teleneurology services to hospitals in 26 states and has conducted over 60,000 consultations via telemedicine since the company’s inception. 
 
[See also: Telemedicine for reproductive health.]
 
Other healthcare hospitals and health systems nationwide have begun implementing similar telemedicine programs. Mayo Clinic in Arizona, for example, saw the beginnings of its teleneurology program back in 2007. Other groups that followed suit include the four-hospital Susquehanna Health in Pennsylvania, the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based Forsyth Medical Center in 2009.