Regional South Australians are being given their best shot at recovery from stroke, thanks to an innovative telehealth platform delivering faster diagnosis time and treatment.
In a state first, the SA Telestroke service is using cloud-based platform Zeus to gather information about rural and regional patients, including brain scans, consultation records and other data into a single platform.
This means all data for people with suspected strokes is in one place, allowing neurologists to make better patient decisions quicker across 61 hospitals in regional South Australia and for Alice Springs in the Northern Territory.
Every minute between diagnosis and treatment is vital to make sure further brain cells are not lost.
This program – along with better education – is enabling patients to receive life-saving treatment up to 30 minutes faster.
There have been more than 440 SA Telestroke Service calls using the Zeus platform since it was introduced last year. This technology has been deployed by the Australian Stroke Alliance and its technology partner, and delivered in partnership with the Rural Support Service (RSS).
The implementation of the Zeus telehealth platform combined with education led by the SA Telestroke team has resulted in a doubling of the number of patients treated with life-saving thrombectomy, improved efficiency of teleconsults and enhanced access to treatment for all stroke patients in the regional LHNs.
Unnecessary hospital-to-hospital transfers have also been slashed by 72 per cent.
This week will also mark another significant milestone with regional hospitals directly linking brain imaging to Zeus, further streamlining neurologists’ access to patient information.
Riverland General Hospital will be the first of eight regional hospitals to directly link this information to Zeus, with hospitals in Port Pirie, Mount Gambier, Whyalla, Port Augusta, Port Lincoln, Wallaroo and Naracoorte all anticipated to have the platform by the end of the year.
Regional South Australians are 17 per cent more likely to suffer a stroke compared with those living in metropolitan areas.
The use of the Zeus platform is part of a five-year SA Health and Australian Stroke Alliance agreement to analyse stroke treatment trends and workforce requirements across South Australia.
The RSS works alongside SA Health’s six regional local health networks to deliver innovative healthcare to regional South Australians.
Attributable to Chris Picton
As the South Australian Cabinet visits the Yorke Peninsula, it’s fantastic that Wallaroo Hospital has been confirmed as one of the regional epicentres that will benefit from this new life-saving technology.
Every minute counts with a stroke, and the faster we can deliver treatment, the better, to help save lives.
Attributable to Rural Support Service Executive Director Debbie Martin
We are proud to partner with the Australian Stroke Alliance to improve stroke clinical care for residents of regional South Australia and the Northern Territory.
In the first year of using Zeus, we have already seen better outcomes for patients who have experienced stroke. We are confident that patient outcomes will continue to improve, particularly with eight regional hospitals directly linking CT scans to Zeus over the next 12 months.
Attributable to Australian Stroke Alliance Co-chair Professor Stephen Davis AO
The Zeus application allows SA Health to lead the way in streamlining urgent stroke care. The application allows the health workforce to connect with rural hospitals and patients quickly, reliably and seamlessly.
This innovative program could inform future national change and improvements in stroke care for all Australians.
Attributable to Stroke Nurse Practitioner Skye Coote
In stroke, every minute is vital. We often say “time is brain” meaning that for each minute stroke treatment is delayed, brain cells are dying at a rate of approximately 1.9 million neurons per minute.
Therefore, if we save 40 minutes, say, we save about 76 million brain cells, or the equivalent of about 2.5 years of normal brain ageing.