Improving Access to Stroke Systems of Care: Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, MPhil


The president of the American Heart Association discussed the necessary steps to increase access to systems of care in order to improve health overall, including the integration of telemedicine.

“We’re studying these kinds of approaches to healthcare, rather than just medications and devices, to see what might be most effective in improving healthcare overall.”

Ongoing studies are focused on developing methods for improving systems of care for patients in both preventative and poststroke phases. According to Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, MPhil, president, American Heart Association (AHA), and chief, division of neurology clinical outcomes research and population sciences, Columbia University, improving these systems helps to facilitate the best quality of care at all levels and improve stroke outcomes.

Elkind spoke with NeurologyLive on integrating telemedicine, which can help to increase patient access to different systems for medication, healthy food, social workers, and transportation, among other benefits. He called specific attention to the potential for patients to monitor blood pressure at home, and the ability for patients to send information and updates directly to primary care physicians without having to leave their homes. As blood pressure control plays a crucial role in preventing both initial stroke and recurring stroke, this would allow primary care physicians to remotely access patient data and make recommendations if needed. 

This commentary from Elkind follows a new scientific statement published by the AHA and the American Stroke Association (ASA), which outlined best practices for poststroke care, particularly for primary care physicians.1 The statement coincides with recently updated guidelines from the AHA/ASA, providing evidence-based tactics for addressing different types of secondary stroke and managing risk factors.2

1. Kernan WN, Viera AJ, Billinger SA, et al. Primary Care of Adult Patients After Stroke: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. Published online July 15, 2021. doi: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000382.
2. Kleindorfer DA, Towfighi A, Chaturvedi S, et al. 2021 guideline for the prevention of stroke in patients with stroke and transient ischemic attack: A guideline from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke. Published online May 24, 2021 doi: 0.1161/STR.0000000000000375
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