Researchers have found that using telemedicine to deliver stroke care, also known as telestroke, appears to be cost-effective for society. The research was recently published in the American Journal of Managed Care.
In telestroke care, the use of a telestroke robot allows a patient with stroke to be examined in real time by a neurology specialist elsewhere who consults via computer with an emergency room physician at another site which may not have neurology specialists (typical rural hospitals). Mayo Clinic provides telestroke care by acting as a single source of specialized care - a hub - to connect a network of multiple hospitals - spokes.
"This study shows that a hub-and-spoke telestroke network is not only cost-effective from the societal perspective, but it's cost-saving," says neurologist Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic Telestroke Program, and the lead investigator of the telestroke cost effectiveness study. "We can assess medical services, like telemedicine, in terms of the net costs to society for each year of life gained."