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Better Stroke Treatment: Why the Fastest Care Isn't Always the Best

When a patient experiences a stroke and needs to be transferred to a stroke facility, time until treatment often becomes the priority for hospital personnel. Nurses call 911 for patient transport, and stroke patients are quickly transported to the nearest available healthcare facility with a stroke center. While treatment speed can be crucial for patients(a common adage among doctors is “time equals brain function”), so is the quality of care. An extra 10-minute drive to a Comprehensive stroke facility rather than a primary care facility can make a significant difference in a patient’s treatment and recovery.

For a closer look, Neurology Reviews presented studies at the 2017 International Stroke Conference which was able to quantify the treatment time difference between Primary and Comprehensive stroke centers for patients eligible for endovascular thrombectomy:

“The median time from symptom onset to revascularization was 202 minutes among the direct patients and 312 minutes among patients first seen at a primary stroke center and then transferred, a statistically significant difference. The average time difference per patient between the two subgroups was 100 minutes, said Dr. Froehler.”

Additionally, a study published in J Neurosurg found that acute ischemic stroke patients directly admitted to qualified, extensive stroke care centers had both a higher chance of recovery and lower cost of admittance to the hospital than those transferred from a Primary stroke facility. If the transport time is reasonable, hospitals should encourage stroke patient transfer directly to Comprehensive stroke care facilities.

By using VectorCare’s responsive, accurate system solution, Kaiser Permanente was able to integrate a rapid transport response time with a higher quality of patient care for their stroke patients. Through using our system, Kaiser pre-set their stroke centers into the platform and ensured that when a nurse orders emergency transport,  their patients are transported to their world-class stroke centers in the event of an emergency rather than simply the nearest available healthcare facility. Through the VectorCare platform, quality and speed of transport can coordinate with one another to promote a better model of patient care.