Northwestern Medicine

New Telestroke Program Provides 24-hour Coverage of Emergency Department by Neurologists

June 09, 2013

Stroke patients receive immediate assessment and exam by vascular neurologists through Telestroke technology

LAKE FOREST, IL – When a patient suffers a stroke, every second matters to assess the severity of the stroke and determine the proper treatment. With the launch of the new Telestroke Program at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Grayslake Outpatient Center, patients arriving at the Emergency Department can be rapidly assessed by a stroke neurologist from Northwestern Memorial Hospital via secure internet conferencing. This allows expert evaluation without waiting for a neurologist to be physically present in the ER. Through videoconference and advanced diagnostic tools, the Northwestern Memorial Hospital neurologist sees and converses with the emergency physician and the patient in real time via laptop. The neurologist can examine the patient remotely, and can view the patient’s vital signs and CT scan.

Telestroke program“Immediate treatment after a stroke occurs is critical to maximize recovery,” said Richard Bernstein, MD, director of the Stroke and Telestroke Program at Northwestern Memorial and Associate Professor in the Ken and Ruth Davee Department of Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “The virtual exam through Telestroke will help the neurologist determine what treatment is administered in the Emergency Department, what should happen after the ED visit and whether the patient needs transfer to Northwestern Memorial.”

As a Certified Primary Stroke Center, Lake Forest Hospital and Grayslake Outpatient Center are two of the few state-recognized emergency facilities in the area that can accept ambulances with stroke patients. Emergency physicians and staff have had extensive training on the Telestroke technology and begin communicating with a Northwestern Memorial Hospital neurologist immediately from the patient’s bedside at the same time that a neurologist on campus is called to the Emergency Department. The team then determines whether the patient should be stabilized and transferred to Northwestern Memorial Hospital or should remain at Lake Forest Hospital for treatment by the hospital’s neurology team.

Development of the Telestroke program was aided by the philanthropic contributions of two donors: the John and Kathleen Schreiber Family Foundation and the Dick Family Foundation. John Schreiber was a patient of Dr. Bernstein who was grateful for the care he received.

“The Telestroke Program allows for 24-hour coverage of the Lake Forest Hospital and Northwestern Medicine Grayslake emergency services by our neurology and stroke team,” said Laura Goldstein, MD, neurologist and medical director of the Lake Forest Hospital stroke program. “This program is a huge asset for our stroke program and ensures that our patients receive immediate access to expert neurologic care in the event of a stroke.”

Learn more about Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital Wood-Prince Family Stroke Center.


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