In this blog post, TeleSpecialists’ Director of Quality Micaela Prevatke, RN, BSN, SCRN shares her experience as a former stroke coordinator and how she worked closely with TeleSpecialists’ TeleNeurologists and quality management team to greatly improve stroke care at her hospital.
In 2016 I started a new position as a stroke coordinator at a 400-bed, nonprofit hospital in Arizona. We had been utilizing telemedicine for emergent neurology since 2008. In this role as an emergency department nurse, my experience with the current telemedicine provider was not positive. The system was clunky, our Door-to-Needle times were far outside the 60-minute window, and the neurologists took a long time to respond.
As the first stroke coordinator at this facility, I quickly realized we did not have a standardized stroke alert process. After we created internal processes and protocols to improve stroke care, educated our team and EMS, and started having regular committee meetings, our Door-to-Needle times showed a minor decrease. However, there was still a disconnect between the neurology providers and our facility. We often waited weeks for their notes to be faxed to us, and even though our team had learned to identify and activate stroke alerts early, the response times and treatment times were still lacking.
I started researching alternatives to our current provider, and in 2017 I met TeleSpecialists’ CEO Nima Mowzoon, MD and Chief Strategy & Growth Officer Reece Nanfito at the International Stroke Conference. Their passion for not only the company but quality of patient care was impressive. After further researching TeleSpecialists and doing a side-by-side comparison of cost and quality, our team decided to partner with them. Dr. Mowzoon and the quality management director traveled to our hospital in Arizona and conducted a value stream mapping exercise to help further refine our stroke process and identify additional areas of improvement, along with a game plan on how to achieve our goals.
The difference TeleSpecialists made in our stroke program and patient care was astounding. From the start, TeleSpecialists’ neurologists were engaged and responsive. Their notes were placed immediately into our EMR system, and the communication with our providers was exceptional. Our patients received a quality of care I did not previously know was possible in a small city. We reduced our average Door-to-Needle times to reflect a national high quality stroke program, earning Primary Stroke Center designation and national awards.
From a quality perspective, the streamlining of care was accomplished through best practice advice and the resources that were provided to my team by TeleSpecialists. During our regular quality meetings, we reviewed cases and identified areas of opportunity. Our quality program specialist often provided resources that helped me implement these best practices. Their support was always just a phone call away, which was reassuring as a new stroke coordinator.
When my family moved out of the area, I left my position at the hospital. Fortunately, TeleSpecialists had an open position in the quality management department. I jumped at the chance to work for an organization that valued patient care and quality as much as I did. I am proud to help lead an incredible team of RNs that transform stroke programs around the country.
As a previous stroke coordinator, finding reliable resources to aid in the improvement of my program was a top priority. I am excited about TeleSpecialists’ new microsite, www.StrokeCoordinatorResources.com. It will benefit current stroke coordinators and program managers in finding resources on best practices and process improvement as well as networking with other stroke professionals. I find the Process Improvement Pathway especially useful. These resources for improving stroke programs have been compiled from the review of tens of thousands of stroke alerts and a large pool of highly trained physicians who have contributed to these recommendations.
For more information on TeleSpecialists’ comprehensive TeleNeurology coverage, or for your complimentary quality and financial assessment for TeleNeurology services, please contact us.