Newport News, VA — The first of its kind in Hampton Roads and one of only a handful of collaborative programs across Virginia, Riverside's Center for Telemedicine now uses teleconferencing technology to provide life-saving emergency treatment and advanced outpatient care to patients in rural markets.

Through this program, Riverside emergency physicians in non-urban settings can now tap into the expertise of more than 200 Riverside physician specialists to provide better care for their patients. "Teleconferencing technology allows the patient and physician specialist to see and talk to each other," says Dr. Barry Gross, Chief Medical Officer at Riverside. "Through this program, a fast diagnosis and treatment plan can be rendered without the patient leaving the rural emergency room."

Leading the charge to provide emergency care via telemedicine, neurologists, neuro-interventional specialists and neurosurgeons at the Riverside Center for Neurosciences are working with physicians at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital to establish the first comprehensive "telestroke" program in Hampton Roads and Northern Neck communities.

When a potential stroke patient arrives at Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, a Riverside neurologist in Newport News will receive a page. Using a specially equipped computer, the neurologist can immediately dial the teleconferencing unit located at the patient's bedside in the emergency room to examine the patient remotely, and then render treatment recommendations.

"Telestroke brings the expertise of Riverside stroke specialists right into the room with patients and families in Tappahannock," says Dr. James Dudley, Service Line Chief, Emergency Department Riverside Tappahannock Hospital. "It gives our patients and their families new hope in the battle against stroke."

Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the number one cause of disability in the United States. "Faster and better care can mean a better outcome when it comes to stroke treatment," says Dr. John Livingstone, Medical Director at Riverside Regional Medical Center and member Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force (VSSTF). "Through telemedicine, Riverside will be able to deliver the same high-quality care to all of our patients, no matter where they live."


Published: October 20, 2011