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Telemedicine is improving outcomes for patients with stroke

Richard I Lindley
Med J Aust 2020; 212 (8): . || doi: 10.5694/mja2.50587
Published online: 4 May 2020

Technology is revolutionising medicine, and telemedicine is having a measurable impact on stroke care

Technology is revolutionising medicine, and telemedicine for patients with stroke (telestroke) is now having a measurable impact on outcomes. Acute stroke care is challenging for many reasons: stroke mimics are common (about 30% of all cases initially suspected to be stroke);1 patients with intracerebral haemorrhage and ischaemic stroke can present with identical syndromes, making brain imaging essential for diagnosis; treatments must be initiated without delay, and some require transfer for tertiary intervention (eg, endovascular thrombectomy). The lack of specialist stroke physicians in regional Australia and underinvestment in stroke care results in poor access for many Australians. Unwarranted clinical variation is unacceptable, so why do some regions of Australia, even today, have no access to specialist stroke care? The answers are complex, but some are clear (too few specialists in regional areas), while some are more difficult to understand (health providers declining offers of help).

  • Richard I Lindley1,2

  • 1 Westmead Applied Research Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW
  • 2 The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, NSW


Acknowledgements: 

I am supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council program grant (APP1149987: Clinical, public health and policy interventions to combat cardiovascular diseases).

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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