Teleneurology Aids Florida Neurosurgeons
Mayo Clinic Florida offers access to remote neurosurgeons, who can examine a patient, review lab data and make a treatment plan. The "robot" has a high-resolution camera capable of examining a patient's pupils. [Photo: Mayo Clinic]
Hospitals in Florida and elsewhere in the country are increasingly turning to telemedicine to ensure that their emergency rooms have access to a board-certified neurologist to assist with critical stroke care. Baptist Hospital in Pensacola has partnered with a California company called Specialists On Call to provide ER physicians with around-the-clock access to neurologists via real-time, two-way audio and video communications.
Dr. Ricardo Garcia-Rivera, chief of neurology at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami and director of that institution's stroke center, founded a company called NeuroCall in Miami in 2007 after realizing that critical time was being lost in dealing with stroke victims as neurologists on call physically made their way to hospitals.
NeuroCall outfits hospital clients with the telecommunications equipment and technical support and contracts with neurosurgeons in that state to provide on-call "teleneurology" services. In 2010, the company partnered with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, to implement a telemedicine system to assist in treating patients with neurological disorders throughout New England.