U.S Senator Cory Gardner visited HCA/HealthONE’s Swedish Medical Center to see firsthand how the hospital is using telemedicine technology to care for stroke patients across Colorado and parts of the surrounding states. Swedish Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center located in Englewood, Colorado, has access to over 50 telemedicine robots in hospitals across the Rocky Mountain Region and Great Plains. When a patient who is suspected of having a stroke arrives at a remote facility, neurologists practicing at Swedish are able to evaluate the patient remotely and make decisions about the patient’s care together with the local emergency room. If the patient requires a higher level of care, they can be transferred to Swedish and be treated by a team of emergency physicians and interventional radiologists specializing in stroke care.
“With the advent of telemedicine, our physicians are able to use this technology to evaluate patients, to diagnose them, and then based on the treatment necessary, potentially airlift them to receive specialized treatment,” said Ryan LeMasters, vice president of neurosciences at Swedish Medical Center.
Outside the Denver metro area, some hospitals do not have neurologists available to diagnose and treat acute stroke. Senator Gardner is sponsoring legislation that would advance virtual health care like the telestroke program at Swedish. “All Coloradans deserve access to healthcare services regardless of whether they live in rural or urban areas, and the technology at Swedish Medical Center and other facilities across our state will continue to increase access to quality care,” said Senator Gardner. “We have had incredible success so far with telemedicine, but I think we’ve just seen the beginning. I’ll continue to work through barriers to expanding technology to improve access to care for all Coloradans.”
During his visit, Senator Gardner watched as Swedish physicians demonstrated the telemedicine technology using a laptop to connect with an emergency room in his hometown of Yuma, Colorado. “It’s really brought specialty healthcare to areas and to people that would not have gotten it at all” said Dr. Ira Chang, medical director of neurosciences at Swedish.
A regional referral center and the State’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center, Swedish Medical Center treats patients from over 130 transferring facilities. The utilization of the telestroke program expands the hospital’s ability to reach more patients in need, with more than 4,200 telemedicine consults for stroke in 2017.
Telestroke technology at Swedish is part of the HealthONE Virtual Network, a joint effort between HealthONE facilities and specialty physicians with the goal to bring the best of acute diagnosis and treatment to communities that might not be able to provide the most advanced medical treatments. Service lines included in the HealthONE Virtual Network include stroke, acute neurology, pediatric emergency medicine, and behavioral health.
Swedish Medical Center, part of HCA’s HealthONE, is located in the south metro Denver area where it has been a proud member of the community for more than 110 years. An acute care hospital with 408 licensed beds, annually Swedish cares for more than 200,000 patients with a team of approximately 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and 1,400 physicians.
With stroke door to treatment times averaging just 20 minutes, Swedish serves as the Rocky Mountain Region’s referral center for the most advanced stroke treatment, and was the state’s first Joint Commission certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. Swedish also serves as the region’s neurotrauma and orthopedic trauma provider and is the area’s only level I trauma facility with a dedicated burn and reconstructive center. Over 150 facilities regularly transfer highly complex cases to Swedish.
Swedish Medical Center offers patients the highest quality care and the most advanced technologies and treatments in nearly every medical specialty including adult and pediatric emergency, heart care, neurology/neurosurgery, pregnancy and childbirth, orthopedics and joint replacement, cancer care, gastroenterology and liver care, gynecology and urology. Additional information about the hospital is available at www.SwedishHospital.com