Real-Time Communication Delivers Life-Saving Care

Recently at TigerSummit, Dr. Chethan Rao, Section Head of Vascular Neurology and Neurocritical Care at BSLMC spoke on behalf of improving interdisciplinary communication in real-time to rapidly assess stroke alerts and deliver life-saving treatments for stroke patients.

According to Dr. Rao, stroke is the number one cause of morbidity and disability in the US, accounting for 20-30% of expenditures. To reduce treatment times and deliver faster care, Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center (BSLMC) began a new strategic initiative to improve the quality of care, real-time communication, and outcomes of stroke patients.

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Faster Treatment Matters

As a naturally occurring protein found on endothelial cells that line blood vessels, BSLMC uses tPA to activate the conversion of plasminogen to plasmin, breaking down clots and helping to restore blood flow to the brain.

Identifying and treating stroke patients with tPA as early as possible is paramount to providing timely care to patients. Prior to this initiative, BSLMC’s length of time to intervene through tPA was unacceptable.

When a patient arrived at the ER with stroke symptoms, the care team was alerted. After establishing vitals, the patient was immediately taken to a CAT scan to determine if they were eligible for tPA. The average time for this process is 62 minutes.

“Every minute a stroke patient goes without blood flow to the brain, patients lose two million neurons,” says Dr. Rao. “This has a significant impact on the brain and directly affects their ability to recover and rehabilitate.”

Delivering Life-saving Treatment

BSLMC recognized that improving real-time communication and workflows would help them rapidly assess stroke patients, deliver life-saving treatments, and develop real-time alerts. In order to identify and treat stroke patients earlier, BSLMC established three main goals:

  • Reduce treatment time: In order to decrease the “door-to-needle” time, BSLMC set a time reduction goal of 30-45 minutes, ideally.
  • Improve provider communication: Communication was key in reducing treatment time and connecting providers with acute stroke care facilitators in real-time.
  • Decrease length of stay: BSLMC’s goal was to reduce overall treatment time, resulting in decreased lengths of stay and better patient outcomes.

Right Hands, Right Time

Through their partnership with TigerConnect, BSLMC is able to connect their entire staff in real-time on a single solution. With TigerConnect, BSLMC leverages technology to address workflow challenges by integrating AI with its communication and collaboration platform.

“We wanted not only a communication tool but an artificial intelligence tool to constantly remind us,” says Dr. Rao. “We wanted a reminder to go out for every single key player of stroke service to provide their role on a timely basis. The right people need to be alerted at the right time.”

Life-Saving Alerts

With their Decisio integration, BSLMC set up real-time stroke alerts, continuously alerting the stroke team in 15-minute increments. The moment tPA is delivered, the alert triggers a confirmation from TigerConnect.

These alerts have helped BSLMC attune their processes and focus on the moment care delivery was needed most. In addition to reducing treatment and reaction time, live feedback helps them quickly resolve issues and prevent them in the future.

Massive Time Reduction

BSLMC’s initiatives for process improvement began during the first wave of the pandemic. Upon the second wave, there were shortages in personnel as well as challenges in the ability to address stroke patients on time. Protocols had changed and processes were becoming more time-consuming.

Despite these challenges, BSLMC achieved excellent success:

  • 50% reduction in door-to-needle time
  • 26 million brain cells saved for every patient
  • Advanced communication between stroke team
  • Improved chances of recovery and rehabilitation

Using TigerConnect helped BSLMC deliver care faster when it was needed the most. The team was able to provide the backup support needed for bedside nurses through real-time communication within the platform.

BSLMC continues to develop new use cases for TigerConnect. As they further analyze processes and data, they will continuously improve patient outcomes and decrease treatment time.

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