Semin Neurol 2022; 42(01): 003-011
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1742181
Review Article

Utilization of Telestroke Prior to and Following the COVID-19 Pandemic

1   Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
,
Mark R. Etherton
1   Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
› Author Affiliations
Funding None.

Abstract

For over two decades, telestroke has been utilized as a means for improving acute access to a stroke specialist when this expertise is otherwise unavailable. During this time, telestroke use has increased and improvements in care metrics have been widely reported. Several telestroke model variations are utilized; each has different workflow implications. A successful telestroke system should include adequate protocols and training, equipment, documentation system, and tracking of quality metrics. Upfront costs of needed technology and devices, credentialing hurdles, and limited reimbursement are all reported barriers to the utilization of telestroke. Emphasis on safety measures during the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the dramatic upscaling of telehealth utilization, although overall stroke volumes declined in many areas in the early phases of the pandemic. Going forward, continued reduction in cost of required devices and broadband connections, increased use of automated and advanced analytical software, and a universal licensing and credentialing system are needed to continue the expansion of telestroke use.



Publication History

Article published online:
16 May 2022

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