A lot can happen in a decade. Between 2007 and today, care in California has evolved, eliminating inefficiencies and developing new treatments. New technology allows experts to provide high-quality care to more Californians — and in a fraction of the time .
Take Dignity Health’s Stroke Telemedicine Network as an example: Dignity Health partners with dozens of hospitals across California to provide patients access to stroke specialists when they need them most. This is especially important for rural hospitals where a neurologist isn’t always on duty. In those situations, thanks to telemedicine, a patient with a stroke can get the quick — and potentially life-saving — care they need, right when they need it.
How has this changed care for Californians?
Find out by following two fictional patients in Grass Valley, CA: Robert in 2007 and Josephine in 2017.
2007: Robert is struggling with blurred vision and numbness in his left leg and arm. His wife rushes him to the emergency room at the local hospital. The ER doctor suspects that Robert has had a stroke, but needs a neurologist to make the diagnosis.
2017: Josephine is suddenly having trouble speaking and has poor hand-eye coordination. Her daughter rushes her to the emergency room at the local hospital. The ER doctor suspects that Josephine has had a stroke, but needs a neurologist to make the diagnosis.
2007: There are no stroke specialists in Robert’s hospital. Robert’s doctor must make a crucial decision about how to get the best treatment for him. He transfers Robert to the closest neurologist to get a proper evaluation and treatment — he must travel over 60 miles to see a specialist in Sacramento.
2017: For Josephine, there are no stroke specialists on duty at the hospital, but the ER doctor calls the Dignity Health Stroke Telemedicine Network and is connected to a neurologist on duty in Sacramento within minutes. The neurologist “visits” Josephine’s bedside via an autonomous robot, controlled by the neurologist. Through videoconference, he assesses Josephine and discusses symptoms with her daughter and the ER doctor. After reviewing her medical history, the neurologist quickly pieces together a diagnosis: Josephine did, in fact, have a stroke. Just about an hour after having the stroke, Josephine and her mother discuss treatment options with their remote doctor.
2007: It’s been three hours since his episode when Robert arrives in Sacramento and is evaluated by a neurologist. Robert and his wife finally receive a diagnosis — he had a stroke. Unfortunately, so much time has passed that his recovery will be longer and more intensive.
2017: Josephine receives the medicine she needs and is recovering, surrounded by the support of family. She is able to return home two days later.
As you can see, innovations in care like telemedicine can make a big difference for hospitals — it facilitates an expert diagnosis in a timely manner, and keeps patients near their family while they heal.