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Providence Wants To Help Treat Stroke Victims Via High-Speed Internet

The Providence Health System announced plans Tuesday, to create a network of stroke treatment stations around the state.

It wants hospitals and clinics in rural areas to use high-speed internet connections and a web camera to consult with the Providence Stroke Center as soon as a patient arrives.

Providence neurologist, Nicholas Okon says many rural clinics don’t have a team of stroke experts, and flying a patient by helicopter or driving by ambulance takes time.

Nicholas Okon: “There’s only one FDA approved treatment for a stroke, and it’s an IV medicine that has to be given within three hours of the stroke symptoms beginning. So if they present to a facility that doesn’t have a neurologist or expertise in providing this medicine, they may not have that opportunity.”

Okon says treating a stroke quickly can make the difference between a patient going back to work soon or never leaving the hospital.

He says the cost of the consultation hasn’t been decided yet.

Oregon has the fifth highest death rate for stroke in the country.