First Integrated Telestroke Network in Southern California Opening at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center

Neurologist Michael Marvi, MD, MS uses his iPad to consult with patients via the new RP-VITA telestroke robot.

Neurologist Michael Marvi, MD, MS uses his iPad to consult with
patients via the new RP-VITA telestroke robot.

Telestroke robots will be dispatched to four San Fernando Valley hospitals to provide a new level of stroke expertise from the neurosciences team at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center.

Physician specialists from Providence Saint Joseph in Burbank will see and speak with patients via computer monitor, review initial tests, and diagnose and direct treatment – all courtesy of a state-of-the-art robotic system developed by InTouch Health and iRobot. The system includes mapping technology that allows the doctor to direct the robot to various patients on a single unit.

“Evidence shows far better outcomes for stroke patients who are treated as soon as possible by neurologists, but not all hospitals have interventional neurologists, neurosurgeons, and other sub-specialists on staff,” said Patrice Hallak, regional director on neurosciences and orthopedics for Providence Health & Services, Southern California. “Our new 24-hour Telestroke Center brings the experts at Providence Saint Joseph to hospital bedsides across the Valley.”

Under a new partnership, Providence Saint Joseph will work with community hospitals – as well as sister hospital Providence Tarzana Medical Center – to visit virtually with patients and coordinate treatment. Also contracting are Sherman Oaks Hospital, Encino Hospital, and Mission Community Hospitals in Panorama City. All five contract with Emergency Medical Associates for Emergency Department Physicians. Jason Greenspan, M.D., is the project lead for telemedicine for the group and associate director of emergency medicine for Encino, Sherman Oaks, and Mission.

Using the new telestroke robot, deployed at community hospitals, neurologists at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center can effectively evaluate and consult on diagnosis, treatment, and transfer of stroke patients.

Using the new telestroke robot, deployed at community hospitals, neurologists at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center can effectively evaluate and consult on diagnosis, treatment, and transfer of stroke patients.

“What’s really unique about this program is that we’re looking at using the resources of various different hospitals to bring better services to the entire community,” Dr. Greenspan said, noting the consortium envisions expanding telemedicine services to expand to member hospitals’ signature specialties. “Stroke care is a great way to get started because it’s such a debilitating disease and time is critical. You should never have to drive past your local ER to get expert stroke care because those few minutes are crucial.”

Through a secure two-way videoconferencing system, a Providence Saint Joseph neurologist can review patient records and diagnostic results, perform a full examination, and consult with local clinicians to help determine the best course of treatment.

“This is the future of specialty medicine,” said neurologist Ronnie Karayan, M.D., Stroke Center Medical Director for the Hycy and Howard Hill Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint Joseph. “This entire program is about vastly improving outcomes for patients and their local hospitals.”

“With medical advances and a limited number of experts, it makes sense for community hospitals to pool resources to best serve their patients,” added neurologist Margarita Oveian, M.D., also a member of the Providence Saint Joseph stroke team. “This is especially important in an area like the Valley where we see a significant number of aging members of the baby boom generation.”

Providence Saint Joseph’s Hycy and Howard Hill Neuroscience Institute is a leader in stroke care. The hospital has earned the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission for Advanced Primary Stroke Centers, making Providence Saint Joseph one of the nation’s premier stroke centers.

Visit: providence.org/saintjoseph to see the telestroke robot in action.

Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center is located at 501 S. Buena Vista St. in Burbank.

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