Telestroke comes to Curry Health Network

By The Curry Coastal Pilot July 24, 2010 06:00 am

Imagine receiving a face-to-face consultation with the top neurologist in the Northwest and having personal access to his or her supporting team of physicians and medical staff – without leaving Curry County.  

With Curry Health Network’s new telemedicine program, this is now possible. 

This new program allows highly trained medical-specialists to perform consultations and examinations on patients in remote hospitals via an interactive audiovisual system. A television-type screen enables doctors in Portland and patients at Curry General Hospital to see and hear each other in real-time, allowing doctors to perform critical diagnosis via satellite. 

At this time, the Curry Health Network is developing its telemedicine program solely for stroke victims. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of serious and long-term disability, hospital officials said. 

The Telestroke system at Curry General Hospital will enable someone who has suffered a possible stroke to be seen by specialists at the Providence Primary Stroke Center in Portland. Doctors will be able to see and communicate with the patient, as well as view their electronic medical records and test results. This will enable neurologists in Portland to properly diagnose a stroke, or detect one before it occurs, without the patient leaving Curry General Hospital.

Telemedicine is an emerging technology and shows great potential in many fields of medicine. Other small hospitals and healthcare facilities in rural regions across the United States are beginning to implement telemedicine programs for a multitude of important needs to include: burn wound assessment, cardiology, oncology, dermatology, psychiatry, and more, officials said. 

While the Telestroke system is a good start for Curry County, it is just one of many ways that the Curry Health Network is seeking to better serve the needs of the community, officials said. 

As the Curry Medical Center prepares to open in Brookings this next year and medical technology continues to improve, telemedicine will no doubt play an important role in making sure residents in Curry County have access to the specialized care they need, officials said.  

The Curry Health Network Telestroke program is scheduled to begin operating Sunday, Aug. 1. For information on the Telestroke program refer to our booth at the Curry County Fair or online at http://www.curryhealthnetwork. com.