By Katie Wike, contributing writer
Tablet based neurologist assessments are just as good as in person visits for stroke patients, and cheaper too, according to a recent study.
The use of tablets to conduct National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale assessments was found to not only be reliable, but according to Fierce Healthcare Mobile, also essentially equivalent to performing NIHSS assessments at the bedside.
According to the study, published in Neurology, researchers evaluated a low-cost tablet option to conduct remote exams. Participants portrayed scripted stroke scenarios during ambulance transport and were evaluated by independent raters comparing bedside to remote mobile telestroke assessments.
“Utilizing a low-cost, tablet-based platform and commercial cellular networks, we can reliably perform prehospital neurologic assessments in both rural and urban settings,” the authors of the study concluded.
The tablet uses bidirectional videoconferencing on a 4G LTE broadband network. This allows for real-time communication between the care team and neurologist for timely stroke assessment.
“Having documented more than 50 test runs in our investigations thus far, we have learned that the portability and adaptability of our apparatus is essential to successful implementation in varying prehospital settings,” researchers noted.
A similar study last year took a closer look at stroke evaluations conducted by neurologists at the Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix and those conducted via telemedicine and found although virtual assessments took longer, the evaluations were preferable in situations where no stroke specialist is available in-house. Health IT Outcomes reports that this delay, while longer than an in-house evaluation, was certainly better than waiting for a neurologist to drive to the hospital — especially in rural locations.