Neurologists and other emergency care physicians came up with a saying ‘time is brain’ emphasizing that stroke is a heavy medical emergency. Depending on the stroke type, a stroke victim needs to be treated within 4.5 hours after onset. This means that when a person suffers a stroke, everyone needs to act fast. The first bystanders with the victim need to quickly notify the emergency medical service (EMS). The EMS needs to recognize the stroke and pre-alert the hospital so that the stroke team - consisting of a neurologist, radiologist and other healthcare professionals - can be ready.
Once a stroke patient arrives in the hospital, many different processes need to take place: the patient needs to be triaged, have a CT scan, and then a specialized team needs to make a diagnosis before the right treatment can be determined. Usually by the time this process is finished, at least three hours have passed since the stroke onset. 60 million neurons are gone, directly affecting a person’s brain, body functions and chances of a high quality of life in the future.
Straightforward, right? Well, no, not exactly... Next to the physical process of moving through different departments, the communication process adds another layer of complexity and delay. For instance, test results and imaging need to be shared among the entire acute care team and across all shifts, where the patient is in the care flow must be known at all times, what care the patient has received so far and what should happen next, is vital. Communicating this information in a timely manner within a large team is simply not efficient in many hospitals, which means the patient isn’t getting the best care possible.