The Tyler, Texas, stroke center uses a mobile app to provide faster, better care to patients suffering from potentially devastating strokes
When a patient at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital recently suffered a stroke in the middle of the night, the team of providers treating the patient didn’t have to send multiple pages and play phone tag to coordinate her care. Instead, they used an app on their phones that allowed the ICU nurse to notify everyone on the team - including the stroke team coordinator, the neurointerventionalist and nurses - with just the press of a button.
Trinity Mother Frances, in Tyler, Texas, became one of the first hospitals in the nation to activate its entire neurointerventional team using mobile technology that seamlessly connects members of an acute care team, allowing them to respond faster and have access to more information in time-sensitive emergencies.
A nurse recognized that a patient in the ICU had the signs and symptoms of a stroke. It turned out she suffered from a large-vessel occlusion (LVO) - a potentially devastating stroke involving a blood clot in a major vessel in the brain. Because of a recent surgery, she was not eligible to receive tPA, a drug that dissolves blood clots and is the usual treatment for strokes. Fortunately, Trinity Mother Frances provides comprehensive stroke care, which includes the use of endovascular therapy - where a catheter is threaded through the patient’s blood vessels to physically remove the clot from the brain.
This technology can also be used by EMS providers who treat stroke patients in the field. When they recognize a stroke, they open the application on a phone or tablet and press a button that notifies the emergency department and the stroke team. The medical providers treating the patient - including EMS, emergency department and hospital personnel - can also enter information such as the patient’s name, his symptoms and his vital signs. That information is shared with the team responsible for the patient’s care but is not saved on the device, protecting the patient’s privacy.
While the software platform is being used by other healthcare systems nationwide, Trinity Mother Frances is one of the first to use the tool to coordinate endovascular stroke care from start to finish, tracking the patient’s care from the first recognition of symptoms to the restoration of blood flow in her brain.
Last year, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association published updated guidelines for the treatment of LVO strokes that now recommend endovascular treatment. The new guidelines mean that more members of the team need to be alerted that a stroke patient is arriving at the hospital so they are able to make treatment decisions and have the cath lab ready as quickly as possible.
“During an acute emergency like a stroke, communication between EMS, the emergency room and specialists is critical, but usually happens through outdated paging systems and phone tag. Sometimes it feels like playing the kids’ game ‘telephone,’” said James Woodson, an emergency room physician and creator of Pulsara, the mobile app being used by the stroke team at Trinity Mother Frances. “What Mother Frances is doing now to improve care for stroke patients will improve outcomes and save lives.”
The app also helps hospital personnel track the time from when the stroke or other condition is first recognized until the intervention is performed, making data analysis easier and allowing each member of the care team, from first responders to specialists, to monitor, measure and improve performance.
Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals and Clinics include the Louis and Peaches Owen Heart Hospital, Mother Frances Hospital Tyler, Jacksonville and Winnsboro, Trinity Mother Frances Rehabilitation Hospital, affiliated with HEALTHSOUTH, Tyler ContinueCARE Hospital, a long-term acute care facility, and Trinity Clinic. Trinity Clinic is the area's preferred multi-specialty medical group, with more than 330 Physicians and Advanced Practice Providers representing 37 specialties in 31 locations serving East Texas. For more information on services available through Trinity Mother Frances, visit tmfhc.org.
Pulsara is a digital healthcare corporation that focuses on using mobile technology to enhance patient outcomes by improving communication and care coordination through the entire healthcare system. Pulsara’s mobile applications STOP STROKE and STOP STEMI improve communications between the teams caring for stroke and heart attack patients, leading to faster treatment and better outcomes. Every clinician – from paramedics to emergency department staff to neurology and cardiology teams – is on the same page with a simple tap. For more information, visit www.pulsara.com.