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CHARLOTTE, N.C. ― Novant Health, a nationally recognized leader in stroke care, today announced the expansion of its teleneurology program following a three-year, $449,000 grant by The Duke Endowment. As North Carolina’s stroke mortality rates continue to rise, teleneurology is one of many innovative ways the healthcare system is working to diagnose and treat patients as safely and as timely as possible.
“During a stroke, time is brain. We know the quicker a patient is diagnosed and treated, the better their outcomes will be,” said Nick Sullivan, system executive, Novant Health’s Neurology and Psychiatry Institute. “We’ve been committed to partnering with rural hospitals to help ensure no matter how remote a patient is, they have access to the care we’ve been working hard to advance. I’m thrilled this grant will help us not only expand our existing programs but also enable us to deploy the same advanced technology and innovation throughout our system to communities that otherwise would be without.”
As one of the few health care systems in the country with two Joint Commission advanced certified comprehensive stroke centers, Novant Health is uniquely positioned to deliver telestroke services. The health system has partnered with five rural North Carolina hospitals to provide remote-access stroke care: Ashe Memorial Hospital, Davis Regional Medical Center, Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, Northern Regional Hospital, and UNC Rockingham Health Care.
The grant funds will support implementation of Viz.ai, an artificial intelligence (AI) tool, which will speed remote diagnosis and treatment of stroke patients. Viz.ai is the first U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved, award-winning, computer-aided triage system that uses AI to analyze patient scans and imaging for stroke.
Enhancement of existing telestroke services, with the addition of Viz.ai, will provide cutting-edge technology for stroke patients arriving at the rural hospitals, including quicker access to CT scan images, which, in turn, will facilitate more timely treatments and transfers of appropriate patients. The enhanced service will transform rural hospital workflow and significantly strengthen decision-making regarding patient transfer versus treatment in the rural hospitals.