Telehealth program aimed at NH stroke patients

MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — Two New Hampshire hospitals are working together to provider better access to specialists for stroke patients.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock has created a “telestroke” program so that patients have access to a specialist at any hour. Catholic Medical Center in Manchester will be the first site in the region to offer the service, which will connect its patients to vascular neurologists not only from Dartmouth-Hitchcock but from the Mayo Clinic.

Officials say minutes can make the difference between life and death after a stroke, and that access to a vascular neurologist significantly reduces mortality or the damaging effects of a stroke. The new program will bring the expertise of a stroke center to a patient’s bedside, improving outcomes and lowering costs through more timely and accurate diagnoses, said Dr. James Weinstein, president and CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock health system. Specialists will use technology to evaluate patients from a distant site and help determine the best treatment plan.

“New technologies are making it possible for us to deliver care in ways never before imagined,” he said. “This program will allow us to give communities and care providers throughout our region access to experts who can work with them in real time to provide the care the patient needs, close to home.”

Dr. Joseph Pepe, president and CEO of Catholic Medical Center, said he looks forward to bringing the expertise of Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Center for Telehealth to his patients and community.

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