Rapid Response to Stroke Symptoms with TeleStroke

Dr. Burton Tabaac has seen his fair share of emergencies as Medical Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center in Reno, Nevada. Above all, he stresses the necessity of timely neurological evaluations as the difference-maker for stroke patients. Speaking with Ray Barrett, CEO of the Telehealth Certification Institute, Dr. Tabaac explains how the telehealth platform, TeleStroke, changes the way that patients receive emergency health services.

In severe neurological cases, every minute gone is a minute lost. TeleStroke connects experienced neurologists with patients who are undergoing the symptoms of a neurological crisis, cutting down the lag time when offering life-saving interventions. Dr. Tabaac describes TeleStroke as an exceptional off-site tool for neurologists.

Having a telehealth platform that delivers an expert on-demand gives hospital emergency room staff the confidence to care for complex neurological conditions. By placing the expert in the field remotely, TeleStroke remedies geographic limitations and access issues for Nevada residents. Renown Health’s use of TeleStroke brings seasoned neurologists to the patient’s bedside as soon as they are admitted to a hospital emergency room. Neurologists who utilize TeleStroke can review radiological imagery, make treatment modifications, or just add a voice of reason during the early stages of medical interventions. 

Dr. Tabaac credits the swift deployment of TeleStroke as a lifesaving method for safely administering tPA, the clock-busting IV injection that restores blood flow to the brain after the onset of a stroke. Neurologists can coach hospital technicians through the tPA process with TeleStroke, while simultaneously evaluating a patient’s physical symptoms. TeleStroke affords neurologists the ability to see their patients, a critical diagnostic tool for identifying the signs of a stroke. These physical signs include face droop, pronator drift, and the flattening of nasolabial folds. TeleStroke’s video component improves clinical accuracy by providing a vehicle for explicit clinical direction from experts. 

While primary care providers offer an invaluable breadth of care, Dr. Tabaac encourages consultation from a neurologist or vascular specialist who routinely navigates the evolution of stroke cases. As brain and central nervous system experts, neurologists like Dr. Tabaac put years of medical training into practice and get to the root of problems faster. Whether or not a TeleStroke neurologist is available, Dr. Tabaac reminds readers to BE FAST—a useful pneumonic device to recognize the basic signs of a stroke.

  • B: balance
  • E: eyes
  • F: face droop
  • A: arm drift
  • S: speech (aphasia)
  • T: time 

Dr. Tabaac’s commitment to healthcare equity is self-evident through his dedication to his patients. In addition to his role at Renown Health, Dr. Tabaac is also an Assistant Professor of Neurology at the University of Nevada, Reno. Dr. Tabaac continually asks how telehealth technology can answer some of the greatest health challenges faced by the neurological community. You can read more about Dr. Tabaac’s passion for TeleStroke in his recap of the 2020 International Stroke Conference. Readers are welcome to contact Dr. Tabaac through Renown Health’s website with additional questions related to TeleStroke.

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