The chief of cerebrovascular disease at Jefferson University Hospitals explains why teaching stroke protocol and using telemedicine can help close the gaps in stroke care.
“Can we train other providers to identify and treat stroke patients? The answer is yes. I don’t see why we shouldn’t.”
Stroke neurologists are among some of the hardest clinicians to recruit today given the growing shortage of neurology specialty care providers in the US.1 The overall availability of these experts is limited, forcing hospitals to come up with new ways of treating stroke patients. Fred Rincon, MD, MSc, chief of cerebrovascular disease at Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadephia, advocated for other specialists, including emergency room physicians and cardiovascular specialists, to learn stroke protocols for identifying and intervening appropriately.
Rincon feels that through advanced training, the pool of those available to treat patients with stroke will expand and thus alleviate some of the pressure from the limited amount of stroke neurologists. Telemedicine is also a tool that hospital staff have relied on to connect with stroke specialists in other areas to provide treatment guidance and decision-making from afar.
In an interview with NeurologyLive, Rincon explained how expanding knowledge of stroke treatment can help improve overall stroke outcomes.
1. Leira EC, Kaskie B, Froehler MT, Adams HP. The growing shortage of vascular neurologists in the era of health reform: planning is brain!. Stroke. 2013;44(3):822-827. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.000466.