Celebrating Telestroke’s one-year anniversary and 500 patients treated

16 March 2021

On 16 March 2021, the NSW Telestroke Service celebrates its first anniversary with more than 500 patients treated since the service’s statewide roll out began.

Telestroke gives rural and regional patients access to high-quality specialist clinical care across New South Wales.

Hosted by Sydney’s Prince of Wales Hospital, it connects stroke specialists with local emergency physicians to determine the most appropriate treatment plan.

The NSW Telestroke Service is available at seven sites in Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lismore, Orange, Dubbo, Bathurst and Shoalhaven and will roll out to up to 23 sites by June 2022.

The Service leverages eHealth NSW’s statewide technology platforms including, Skype for Business, statewide Wi-Fi, HWAN (Health Wide Area Network) and the EIR (Enterprise Imaging Repository).

The EIR plays a particularly important role providing fast clinical access to centralised multimodal brain imaging. This supports quicker diagnostic and treatment decisions. The sooner a clinician can diagnose and treat a patient, the better the recovery.

More than 500 rural and regional patients have already benefited from rapid stroke assessment, treatment and management via the service. One of those patients is Melinda Laverick, a schoolteacher in Coffs Harbour who had a stroke last year. Melinda recently shared her story on Seven News.

Professor Ken Butcher, Medical Director of the NSW Telestroke Service and Director Clinical Neuroscience, Prince of Wales Hospital, said the service bridges more than just geographical distances in the fight against stroke which is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability.

“The statewide launch of Telestroke in March 2020 coincided with the outbreak of COVID- 19, which demonstrated how well this model of care can work during COVID-19 and beyond,” he said.

“Every year around 19,000 residents in NSW have a stroke and more than a third live in regional, remote or rural areas. Using Telestroke, our clinicians can deliver better outcomes for patients exhibiting signs of stroke by harnessing this cutting-edge technology – irrespective of location.”

Implementation of the NSW Telestroke Service is a collaboration between eHealth NSW, the Prince of Wales Hospital, the Agency for Clinical Innovation and the NSW Ministry of Health. Implementation is supported by the Stroke Foundation. The service is a $21.7 million NSW Government election commitment announced in March 2019 and is jointly funded by the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.

Learn more about the NSW Telestroke Service by watching this short video.

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