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Published on November 04, 2015

Palos Community Hospital and Loyola bring Telestroke Care to Southwest Suburbs

Telemedicine robot will bring Loyola specialist to stroke patient’s bedside

Palos Heights, Ill. - Loyola Medicine and Palos Community Hospital launched today an innovative telemedicine program that enables specialists from Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to assist physicians at Palos in diagnosing and treating strokes in patients at Palos Community Hospital.

Loyola neurologists who specialize in stroke care will be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Working in close collaboration with Palos physicians and nurses, Loyola’s stroke specialists will use a telemedicine robot to conduct patient exams remotely, in real time.

The robot is equipped with a microphone and a full-color, high-definition camera. The robot instantly transmits electronic medical records, lab results and images such as CT scans over a secure, high-speed internet connection. Working from the remote location, the Loyola neurologist can see, hear and talk to the patient and the patient's family, doctors and nurses.

The telestroke program is among the patient-care initiatives underway from the innovative affiliation between Loyola and Palos. The affiliation focuses on coordinated and collaborative patient care. Palos patients receive greater access to Loyola’s renowned specialty care services, such as neurosciences and oncology, while having continued access to Palos’ primary care network.

“Our goal is to help our patients, in the community and close to home, making it ultimately easier for patients to receive university-level care here at Palos,” said Craig Adams, MD, director of Hospital Medicine at Palos Community Hospital. “When a patient requires highly specialized stroke care, such as neurosurgery, our relationship with Loyola will provide access in a timely and efficient manner.”

Daniel Post, Loyola’s executive vice president for Network Development and System Integration, said patients in the southwest suburbs won’t have to travel to Loyola. “Instead, we are bringing our services to patients in their own communities,” Mr. Post said.

A stroke kills 32,000 brain cells each second, so when treating patients, every second counts.  “Time is brain,” said Murray Flaster, MD, PhD, medical director of Loyola’s telestroke program. “The sooner we can initiate appropriate treatments, the better patients will do. And our telestroke program will help ensure that patients receive fast, high-quality treatments at their local hospital.”

Dr. Flaster added that in certain complex cases, the Loyola neurologist will recommend the patient be transferred to Loyola for surgery or other advanced care that is not available at a community hospital.

Palos recently invested $50 million in a state-of-the-art medical records program that is compatible with the system used by Loyola, making it easier for clinicians to access medical records across both systems.

Palos is one of five community hospitals now participating in Loyola’s telestroke network. The program was created by nationally recognized physician experts who have years of experience in direct bedside applications of telemedicine technology.

The American Stroke Association has awarded Loyola its Gold Performance Achievement Award for implementing a higher standard of stroke Care. Loyola’s Stroke Center also has received the Gold Seal of Approval® for stroke care from the Joint Commission.

Loyola ranks among the top three Illinois hospitals in U.S. News & World Report’s 2015-16 Best Hospitals rankings. Loyola’s neurosciences program is rated High Performing.

About Palos Community Hospital

With 425 licensed beds and nearly 600 affiliated physicians, Palos Community Hospital, located in Palos Heights, Ill, 22 miles from downtown Chicago serves the southwest Chicago suburbs. Heart care, orthopaedics, cancer care and general surgery and Robotic-assisted surgery, are just a few of the services for which Palos Community Hospital is recognized. Palos has been granted the Commission on Cancer’s Outstanding Achievement Award as a result of nationwide surveys performed in 2011 and 2014.  In 2015, Palos earned designation as an Emergent Stroke Ready Hospital (ESRH) from the Illinois Department of Public Health. In 2015, the American Heart Association also recognized Palos Community Hospital for meeting performance improvement measures in the Get with the Guidelines quality improvement program. In 2013, Palos Community Hospital opened the Hospitaller Pavilion, featuring 14 state-of-the-art surgical suites, the area’s first hybrid operating room and the innovative Center for Short Stay Care. Palos Community Hospital operates two satellite facilities, the Palos Primary Care Center on its south campus in Orland Park and the Palos Diagnostic and Women’s Center in Tinley Park, as well as a home health agency serving Cook, Will, DuPage and Kendall Counties, and Palos Health & Fitness Center in Orland Park. Palos Medical Group is part of Palos Community Hospital an serves nearly 40,000 patients annually.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is part of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. At the heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is a national Catholic health system with an enduring legacy and a steadfast mission to be a transforming and healing presence within the communities we serve. Trinity is committed to being a people-centered health care system that enables better health, better care and lower costs. Trinity Health has 84 hospitals and hundreds of continuing care facilities, home care agencies and outpatient centers in 21 states and 89,000 employees.