Published: January 2020
Stroke is a medical emergency requiring timely access to specialist clinical diagnostics and management.
Telestroke is the use of telehealth modalities to provide patients with timely access to therapy.
The Telestroke model of care provides the NSW Ministry of Health, pillars, statewide services, NSW Ambulance and local health districts guidance to implement world-class, hyperacute stroke care (care delivered in the initial 24 hours after the onset of stroke symptoms) for patients with suspected stroke in NSW, regardless of their location.
The NSW Telestroke Service consists of a single virtual service ‘hosted’ by a facility and serviced by a roster of specialist stroke physicians.
Telestroke referring sites are telestroke-enabled hospitals that refer stroke patients to the NSW Telestroke Service. The model is facilitated by early notification of FAST+ (Face, Arm, Speech, Time) patients by NSW Ambulance using standardised assessment protocols. The patient is triaged and assessed on site using a standardised protocol prior to calling the NSW Telestroke Service.
The model uses a virtual platform that supports communication across hospital and district boundaries:
- This enables remote viewing of electronic medical records, real-time scanning review of images and live patient assessment through screen sharing and collaboration functions.
- It supports teams to include patients, carers and additional clinicians in the consultation and decision-making process.