SA Health has recently turned to the cloud to provide more efficient stroke care to patients living in regional and rural areas.
According to a media release, the SA Telestroke Service has been using the cloud-based telehealth platform Zeus to gather vital health information from stroke patients, including brain scans and consultation records, into a single platform. It was deployed by the Australian Stroke Alliance across 61 hospitals in regional SA and Alice Springs in the Northern Territory as part of a five-year agreement with SA Health.
Since Zeus was launched last year, the service has received over 440 calls.
Meanwhile, SA Health is working to enable some regional hospitals to directly link brain imaging data to Zeus to streamline neurologists’ access to patient information. From this week until the end of the year, this capability will be rolled out to the first eight rural hospitals, including Riverland General Hospital.
WHY IT MATTERS
Stroke is a major leading cause of death in Australia. Today, nearly half a million Australians are said to be living with its effects.
In stroke care, “time is brain,” and that is why it is important to never delay treatment every minute following the onset of an event. “Every minute counts with a stroke, and the faster we can deliver treatment, the better, to help save lives,” said SA Health Minister Christ Picton.
Since turning to the cloud via the Zeus platform, SA Telestroke has doubled its capacity to treat patients with thrombectomy and is able to provide life-saving treatment “up to 30 minutes faster.” It has also seen improved efficiency in conducting teleconsultations and enhanced access to stroke treatment in regional Local Health Networks.
Moreover, it has reduced unnecessary hospital-to-hospital transfers by 72%,
THE LARGER TREND
The counterpart service in New South Wales has also made strides in expanding stroke care access in regional and rural communities. The 24/7 NSW Telestroke Service, which has so far treated over 3,000 patients at 23 hospitals, is said to be delivering treatment faster in regional areas than in major cities.
Meanwhile, the telestroke service in Western Australia has just started running 24/7, following its entry into a second phase of implementation.
ON THE RECORD
“The Zeus application allows SA Health to lead the way in streamlining urgent stroke care. The application allows the health workforce to connect with rural hospitals and patients quickly, reliably, and seamlessly. This innovative programme could inform future national change and improvements in stroke care for all Australians,” Professor Stephen Davis, co-chair of the Australian Stroke Alliance, commented.