Access to enhanced neurology services is now available to residents of Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties through a collaboration between Samaritan Health Services and Providence Health & Services. The expanded service launched March 15 and is currently available at Samaritan Albany General Hospital and Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis.The two organizations first partnered more than five years ago to offer a highly successful telestroke program.
“Teleneurology offers a natural expansion opportunity,” said Melinda Papen, VP of Patient Care Services at Samaritan Albany General Hospital. “This new service will help minimize the need to transport patients out of the area and will prevent delays for community members needing emergent non-stroke related neurology care.”
The teleneurology process is very similar to the current telestroke process and its established protocols. When an ED patient or other hospital inpatient has been identified as needing a neurological consultation, the Samaritan clinical team initiates a call to Providence’s Digital Access Center. Providence neurologists will then quickly respond, commencing a consultation with Samaritan clinicians within 15 minutes and interacting with the patient shortly thereafter via live video from a telehealth cart.
“Providence is pleased to have earned the trust of our colleagues and will continue to broaden our care for neurology patients through this agreement with our Samaritan partners. As always, we aim to offer high quality care that allows patients to stay as close to home for that treatment as possible,” said John Zurasky, MD, neurology medical director for Providence Neurosciences Institute, Oregon Brain and Spine Institute, neuro critical care.
“When it comes to emergent neurological issues, time for assessment and treatment can be critical,” said Tim Eixenberger, VP of Patient Care Services at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center. “It has been a very collaborative process with Providence. The neurologists are excellent, and it is clear they are committed to making this a successful service for SHS and for our community,” said Eixenberger. “The additional benefit is if there is a need for a referral outside of SHS there is a great handoff of the patient already in place.”
Samaritan hopes to expand teleneurology services to its three other hospitals in the future.