Variability and Delay in Telestroke Physician Alert among Spokes in a Telestroke Network: A Need for Metric Benchmarks.J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2019 Nov; 28(11):104332.JS
Telestroke has increased access to acute management of ischemic stroke in areas that lack stroke care expertise, yet delays persist in evaluation and treatment. We describe variation in time to alert a telestroke physician of suspected acute ischemic stroke patients potentially eligible for acute stroke therapies among community hospitals in our telestroke network, and explore demographic and spoke-related characteristics associated with delays.
From our telestroke registry, we identified suspected acute ischemic stroke patients who arrived within 6 hours of symptom onset and underwent video consultation at 1 of 17 community hospitals in our hub-and-spoke network. We compared time between patient arrival to telestroke alert (door-to-page-time) and to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) administration for eligible patients (door-to-needle-time). We identified factors associated with prolonged metrics.
Of 1020 cases between 9/2015 and 3/2017, 47% received tPA. Sixty percent had door-to-page-time more than 15 minutes (median 19.5; IQR, 11-34). Door-to-page-time more than 15 minutes was associated with an 8-fold increase in likelihood of door-to-needle-time more than 60 minutes. Patients with severe stroke experienced faster door-to-page-times. Hospitals with more beds had prolonged door-to-page-time. Full time in-house neurology presence, even when not covering emergent consultations, was associated with faster door-to-page-time over telestroke. Seventy-one percent of patients underwent CT brain prior to the telestroke physician alert; this scenario delayed door-to-page and door-to-needle times.
Door-to-page-time varied considerably among spokes. Awaiting CT scan prior to alerting the telestroke consultant of a stroke code delayed metrics. Telestroke physician alert standards are needed, as are educational initiatives on acute ischemic stroke management and workflow.