Mission Health telehealth services now offered at Harris Regional Hospital

Robot Connects Patients with Specialists 50 Miles Away for Expert Diagnosis

From Mission Health:

Dr. Alex Schneider, MD, medical director for Mission Hospital Neuroscience and Stroke Programs, communicates with patients at rural hospitals via the Telehealth robot.

Asheville, N.C. (Dec. 5, 2013) Patients at Harris Regional Hospital in Sylva who are exhibiting signs of stroke can now be evaluated more quickly and accurately by Mission Health specialists 50 miles away in Asheville, thanks to a Telestroke robot.

Telestroke is part of Mission Health’s Telehealth system that connects physicians and patients at rural hospitals with specialists at Mission Hospital, flagship hospital of Mission Health and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Through the use of a rolling robot and live, two-way, audio-video, Telestroke technology allows Mission Health physicians to have a live interaction with patients, families and care providers at the bedside, reducing the need for travel time or patient transfers for specialized stroke care.

We are pleased to offer this vital Telehealth service to the patients we serve, said Steve Heatherly, CEO of Harris Regional Hospital. Connecting to Mission Health specialists in real-time will lead to significantly better outcomes for our patients during emergency situations, particularly for stroke patients when every second counts.

Since Telestroke was recently implemented at Harris Regional Hospital, one of the stroke patients diagnosed via Telestroke was able to be treated with tPa, a clot-busting drug that can help restore blood flow to the brain, decrease the level of disability and increase the likelihood of achieving independence after stroke.

Telehealth eliminates geographic transport barriers and allows improved outcomes for patients through faster treatment and 24/7 bedside access to Mission Health experts, said Jonathan Bailey, MHA, Vice President of Operations at Mission Hospital. The Telehealth installation at Harris Regional Hospital puts us one step closer to achieving our BIG(GER) Aim: to get each patient to the desired outcome, first without harm, also without waste and with an exceptional experience for the patient and family.

Mission Health’s Telehealth services are now offered in 10 rural hospitals and clinics in western North Carolina. Harris is the eighth with Telestroke and there are plans to implement Telestroke at Highlands-Cashiers Hospital later this month. The Telestroke program has allowed nearly 50 percent of patients who received a video Telestroke consult to remain at their local community hospital for care.

Harris Regional Hospital is a not-for-profit acute care facility located in Jackson County. This fully-accredited hospital has been providing care to the surrounding areas since 1929.

Mission Hospital is certified by The Joint Commission as an Advanced Primary Stroke Center and is designated by the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association as a Gold Plus target hospital for stroke care.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in America and the number one cause of adult disability. Anyone who is experiencing the signs and symptoms of a stroke should call 9-1-1 and go to the nearest emergency department.

About Mission Health

Mission Health, based in Asheville, N.C., is the state’s sixth-largest health system and the region’s only not-for-profit, independent community hospital system governed and managed exclusively in western North Carolina. Mission Health was recognized as one of the nation’s Top 15 Health Systems in 2012 and 2013 by Thomson Reuters and Truven Health Analytics, respectively. Mission Health is one of only two medium-sized health systems to receive this recognition in 2012 and 2013, and the only health system in North Carolina to achieve that distinction.

Mission Health, which traces its roots in the region back to 1885, operates five hospitals, numerous outpatient and surgery centers and the region’s only dedicated Level II trauma center. Its medical staff consists of more than 1,000 physicians and is certified in more than 50 medical specialties and sub-specialties. Mission Health has seven Centers of Excellence: Cancer, Heart, Mission Children’s Hospital, Neurosciences, Orthopedics, Trauma and Women’s Health. Mission Hospital, located in Asheville, is the system’s flagship hospital and is licensed for 795 beds. It is the regional referral center for tertiary and quaternary care. It also includes Mission Children’s Hospital, the region’s only children’s hospital. Other Mission Health member hospitals include Angel Medical Center in Franklin, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, McDowell Hospital in Marion and Transylvania Regional Hospital in Brevard. With approximately 10,500 employees, Mission Health is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of the people of western North Carolina. For more information, please visit mission-health.org.

About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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