Every minute in which a stroke is untreated, the average patient loses 1.9 million brain cells. Each hour in which treatment fails to occur, the brain loses as many neurons as it does in nearly four years of normal aging. i
University of Michigan Health-West (UM Health-West), reduced stroke treatment door-to-needle time from 53 minutes to 28 minutes, saving each stroke patient roughly 48 million brain cells and greatly improving the probability of surviving a stroke without major disabilities.
UM Health-West has been a Primary Stroke Center since 2005. It is also a Level II Trauma Center with Stage 7 Accreditation from HIMSS Analytics and is a certified Comprehensive Stroke Center. In October 2018, the hospital’s neuroscience team set out on a project to further improve the hospital’s stroke care program. The goal was to identify and reduce delays in stroke care delivery.
“We wanted to make sure our patients receive the fastest, highest quality care, because every moment that passes without treatment is the loss of someone’s brain cells, which directly impacts their quality of life,” said Dillon Fassett, Program Coordinator - Process Improvement & Integration at UM Health-West.
The neuroscience team kicked off the project and evaluated process improvement approaches and clinical decision support tools. Process improvement experts analyzed workflows and engineered workflow enhancements that included electronic health record alerts.
The team quickly realized the Stroke Center needed a communication solution to help minimize delays in patient care delivery and to connect specialty physicians, emergency medical services (EMS), and people across departments such as neurology, radiology, nursing, laboratory, and pharmacy. They knew a unified communication solution would allow the entire stroke care team to communicate and prepare for a stroke patient before an ambulance even arrives at the hospital’s emergency department (ED).
Physicians, IT leaders, and external EMS crews evaluated the Vocera® system and decided it was the best communication solution for their needs. They favored it because they needed a solution that would enable care teams to communicate instantly in critical situations. They also needed a solution that would connect all the people and information needed to deliver patient care – regardless of their location. For end-user communication the Stroke Center deployed a combination of hands-free Vocera Badges and the Vocera smartphone app, allowing users to choose the mobile device best suited to their workflow.