Posted on October 21, 2016

A collaborative initiative by teams across Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has led to the implementation of a telemedicine system that is improving care for stroke patients at Al Khor Hospital. Telemedicine is an advanced system that enables the diagnosis and treatment of patients by clinical teams situated in a different location to the patient.

"The stroke telemedicine system has been jointly developed by teams at Hamad General Hospital's (HGH) Stroke Ward, Al Khor's Emergency Department and the Health Information and Communication Technology department," explained Dr Naveed Akhtar, Director of HMC's Stroke Ward. The telemedicine technology enables direct evaluation of stroke patients admitted at Al Khor's Emergency Department and allows real time examination of the CT scan imagery by HMC's expert stroke team based at HGH's Stroke Ward in Doha, facilitating immediate treatment with live saving therapies. 

"Fast and specialised medical intervention is the key to successful treatment for stroke patients. Time is brain, meaning the faster treatment can be given following a stroke, the better the chances of recovery," explained Dr Akhtar. "Prior to the introduction of the telemedicine system, patients would often need to be transferred to HGH's Emergency Department for a full assessment before treatment was given. By significantly reducing the time period between the onset of stroke symptoms and the start of treatment, patients' chances of making a full recovery are greatly improved," said Dr Osama Hashim, Head of the Emergency Department at Al Khor Hospital. 

Research has shown that stroke patients who receive thrombolysis, a clot-busting treatment, within one hour of suffering a stroke have a one in three chance of making a full recovery. But the longer this treatment is delayed, the lower the chances; with only one in 12 patients making a full recovery when treatment is given after four and a half hours. "A central part of our healthcare vision at HMC is to work as one system across multiple sites. HMC is made up of eight hospitals spanning the country, but we want patients to receive the same high level of care wherever they are treated," explained Mohamed al Jusaiman, Chief Executive Officer at Al Khor Hospital. 

"The collaborative efforts of teams at HMC to establish the telemedicine system means stroke patients in the north of Qatar can benefit from the combined expertise of our emergency teams here at Al Khor as well as the dedicated stroke team based at HGH in Doha," Jusaiman said. Such has been the success of the telemedicine system at Al Khor, that plans are currently in place to launch a similar service with Al Wakra Hospital in the future.

source: Qatar Tribune

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