Doctors Hospital of Manteca’s New Teleneurology Program Keeps Neurological Patients Close to HomeJun 20, 2016
Doctors Hospital of Manteca’s new teleneurology program offers high-level care right here in the community for some patients with stroke or other neurological issues who otherwise would have to be transferred to out-of-town facilities, far from home.
The program – a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco – allows physicians at Doctors Hospital of Manteca to consult in real time with a remote neurologist, using a dedicated computer link with UCSF on a computer that can be wheeled from room to room. If a patient’s attending physician suspects the patient has had a neurological event, he or she will use the link to connect with a UCSF neurologist. The remote neurologist can see and speak to the patient, and the two linked physicians conduct a joint examination. The patient also can see the consulting neurologist on the portable computer’s screen, and speak to him or her directly via the computer’s built-in microphone and speaker.
“We started the teleneurology program because we realized a significant portion of our patient population – mainly stroke patients – needed more complex services,” said Simran Sethi, MD, Director Clinical Quality Improvement and Risk Management at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. “These patients were getting transferred out to other facilities that were a long way away, which was a hardship for their families.”
Now, patients who can be safely treated at Doctors Hospital of Manteca stay at the hospital, and only those who require surgery or other specialty care are transferred to other facilities. The teleneurology program, which started on March 15, is not only for stroke patients. All inpatient neurology consults – including for such conditions as seizures and multiple sclerosis, among others – are conducted remotely.
“The program gives us access to inpatient neurology services provided by highly trained and qualified UCSF neurologists at any time of the day or night,” said Dildeep Batth, MD, Director of the Hospitalist Program at Doctors Hospital of Manteca. “These kinds of services are very hard to find in our community. It’s a win both for our patients and for our hospitalists, who benefit from the expert, specialized support we receive from the UCSF neurologists.”
Dr. Sethi added, “In the few months the program has been in operation, we’ve been able to quickly identify uncommon signs of stroke and some rare neurological conditions. Before we had the program, we were never able to treat patients with these kinds of neurological conditions. Now, we’re able to treat them and keep them here within their community.”