Every second counts to a stroke patient. And the sooner that patient gets treatment, the better.

Thanks to the Certified Stroke Center at Rapides Regional Heart Hospital, a doctor is always available for immediate assessment of a stroke patient – due in part to the hospital’s ongoing partnership with Specialists on Call.

SOC is the nation’s leading provider of clinical telemedicine. RRMC joined with Specialists on Call last October to make sure patients suffering from strokes or other neurological emergencies had immediate access to board-certified neurologists around the clock.

Since the program began, 30 patients have been examined via teleneurology, says Lynn Randall, RN, Coordinator of Cardiovascular Quality Initiatives at RRMC.

SOC neurologists rotate call with local neurologists.

“On days when we don’t have our local neurologists on call, we’re able to utilize the board certified neurologists made available to us through Specialists on Call,” Randall said. “We’re also the only hospital in Central Louisiana with neurosurgical coverage, which means our patients stay here for treatment. They don’t have to be transferred – and that’s critical when every second counts.”

“This is yet another benefit we have added to Rapides Regional’s services that will help stroke patients and strengthen our position as a Certified Stroke Center,” said Rapides Regional CEO David Williams. “We were the first hospital in Central Louisiana to serve as a Certified Stroke Center, and now, with the addition of teleneurology, Rapides Regional continues to provide cutting edge technology to benefit its patients and the residents of Central Louisiana.”

When teleneurology is used, the doctor examines the patient via computer, using a Wi-Fi connection. This allows the doctor to observe the patient, interview the patient and provide instructions to the patient’s nurse at bedside.

In most cases, following the examination by a teleneurologist, the patient is able to remain at Rapides Regional under the care of a local physician for the remainder of treatment.

“Together, we will provide patients with access to some of the best neurologists in healthcare,” said Specialists on Call CEO Dr. Joe Peterson. “We don’t think anyone’s healthcare should be compromised by geography or time of day, and it’s out mission to help provide the best care in the shortest amount of time for stroke patients and their families.”