Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit medical practice and medical research group based in Rochester, MN, was looking for ways to improve the response time in treating stroke patients. Specifically, they wanted to determine if it would be feasible to assess a stroke patient from the ambulance while in transit. Everbridge CMO Ranya Habash — also an Ophthalmologist at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami — was one of the researchers and took time recently to speak with Health IT Outcomes about the Mayo study and more.
Q: What were the goals of the Mayo Clinic study and how was it set up?
Habash: Treatment for strokes is highly time-sensitive. Patients lose 1.8 million brain cells per minute while having a stroke, so every minute counts. Mayo Clinic was looking for ways to improve response time in treating patients. Specifically, they wanted to see if it was feasible to assess a stroke patient while in transit, from the ambulance. If they could do that, it would shorten the time needed to assess and treat the patient upon arrival to the Emergency Department (ED). So we studied the feasibility of performing the NIH Stroke Scale assessment with a Mayo neurologist, while the ambulance was still en route. This required the ability for the neurologist to visually assess the patient and to communicate easily with the paramedics.
A number of methods have been attempted across the U.S. to allow neurologists to conduct stroke assessments with a patient in-transit, including special ambulances called mobile stroke units and using video-enabled robots. These solutions tend to cost millions of dollars and are cumbersome to use. Mayo realized these roadblocks would limit availability and usability for EDs and ambulance teams, so another key goal became establishing a cost-effective solution that was simple, intuitive, and accessible to the entire care team.