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Bon Secours Establishes Virginia’s Largest Private Teleneurology Network

Through telemedicine, patients with stroke and other neurologic emergencies have immediate access to neurologists at every Bon Secours hospital in Virginia

Sept. 4, 2013 — Bon Secours Virginia Health System has completed implementation of a system-wide private teleneurology network, equipping every Bon Secours emergency department with audio/visual technology connecting board-certified, fellowship-trained neurologists to a patient’s bedside within seconds. On September 1, Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital became the eighth and final Bon Secours Virginia facility to go on-line with teleneurology, completing the network and establishing the largest private teleneurology network in Virginia.

Through an agreement with Specialists On Call, Inc., the nation’s leading provider of acute clinical telemedicine services, Bon Secours’ teleneurology network enables patients experiencing neurologic emergencies to enter any Bon Secours hospital and have immediate access to a neurologist. Through an audio/visual connection in the emergency departments, emergency medicine personnel can immediately connect with a neurologist working from another location. Through a two-way video monitor, the neurologist can see and communicate with emergency personnel and the patient, as well as review charts and CT scans, to best diagnose the patient’s symptoms and make recommendations for treatment.

In the United States there are over 500,000 new and approximately 200,000 recurring strokes every year. Stroke is the third leading cause of death in adults and the leading cause of adult disability. “Every second matters during an acute stroke. Rapid diagnosis and treatment by a neurologist is critical to restore blood flow to the brain and prevent permanent damage,” said Dr. Timothy J. Shephard, vice president, neurosciences, Bon Secours Virginia Health System. “Equipping every Bon Secours hospital with teleneurology is essentially like having a neurologist in every emergency department 24 hours a day. Now anyone with neurologic symptoms can walk into any Bon Secours emergency department and receive immediate access to a neurological specialist. Knowing that ‘Time is Brain’, our teleneurology network will help save lives.”

The eight hospitals on the Bon Secours teleneurology network include four Bon Secours facilities in central Virginia: Richmond Community Hospital, Memorial Regional Medical Center, St. Francis Medical Center and St. Mary’s Hospital; as well as three Bon Secours facilities in Hampton Roads: Mary Immaculate Hospital, DePaul Medical Center and Maryview Medical Center. The eighth facility includes Rappahannock General Hospital, a joint venture with Bon Secours Virginia, serving patients throughout Virginia’s Northern Neck.

“We are honored to partner with Bon Secours Virginia in creating a network that will help thousands of patients and their families every year,” said Dr. Joe Peterson, CEO, Specialists on Call, Inc. “It exemplifies how a progressive health system can leverage telemedicine to better serve all of its patients statewide.”

The Bon Secours Neuroscience Institute provides comprehensive specialty care encompassing neurology, neurosurgery and neuro-interventional services. Recently, St. Francis Medical Center received national recognition with the American Heart Association’s Target: Stroke Honor Roll designation. This award is given to hospitals that treat acute stroke patients with clot-busting drugs in < 60 minutes. St. Francis has achieved this superior target in over 80 percent of cases since implementing teleneurology in December 2012. St. Mary's Hospital, DePaul Medical Center, Memorial Regional Medical Center, Richmond Community Hospital and Maryview Medical Center have each achieved designations as Joint Commission-Certified Primary Stroke Centers, offering treatment with intravenous tPA. In addition, St. Mary’s Hospital and DePaul Medical Center also provide advanced acute stroke treatment with intra-arterial tPA and endovascular clot removal procedures; Memorial Regional Medical Center will offer this technology in early 2014.

In 2012, Bon Secours opened the first comprehensive neurology clinic in central Virginia. The Bon Secours Neuro-diagnostic Center at Watkins Centre enables patients to receive medical evaluation, neuro imaging, neuro-diagnostic evaluation (EEG, EMG, carotid doppler, ANS testing, neuropsych testing, neuro-ophthalmology) and treatment planning for all neurological disorders at one location and often on the same day.

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