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Development and Pilot Testing of 24/7 In-Ambulance Telemedicine for Acute Stroke: Prehospital Stroke Study at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel-Project

Development and Pilot Testing of 24/7 In-Ambulance Telemedicine for Acute Stroke: Prehospital Stroke Study at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel-Project

Cerebrovascular Diseases 42(1-2): 15-22

In-ambulance telemedicine is a recently developed and a promising approach to improve emergency care. We implemented the first ever 24/7 in-ambulance telemedicine service for acute stroke. We report on our experiences with the development and pilot testing of the Prehospital Stroke Study at the Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel (PreSSUB) to facilitate a wider spread of the knowledge regarding this technique. Successful execution of the project involved the development and validation of a novel stroke scale, design and creation of specific hardware and software solutions, execution of field tests for mobile internet connectivity, design of new care processes and information flows, recurrent training of all professional caregivers involved in acute stroke management, extensive testing on healthy volunteers, organisation of a 24/7 teleconsultation service by trained stroke experts and 24/7 technical support, and resolution of several legal issues. In all, it took 41 months of research and development to confirm the safety, technical feasibility, reliability, and user acceptance of the PreSSUB approach. Stroke-specific key information can be collected safely and reliably before and during ambulance transportation and can adequately be communicated with the inhospital team awaiting the patient. This paper portrays the key steps required and the lessons learned for successful implementation of a 24/7 expert telemedicine service supporting patients with acute stroke during ambulance transportation to the hospital.

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Accession: 057595657

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PMID: 26950076

DOI: 10.1159/000444175

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