Telemedicine Can Replace the Neurologist on a Mobile Stroke Unit
Background and Purpose—The BEST-MSU study (Benefits of Stroke Treatment Delivered Using a Mobile Stroke Unit) is a comparative effectiveness trial in patients randomized to mobile stroke unit or standard management. A substudy tested inter-rater agreement for tissue-type plasminogen activator eligibility between a telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist.
Methods—On scene, both the telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist independently evaluated the patient, documenting their tissue-type plasminogen activator treatment decision, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, and computed tomographic interpretation. Agreement was determined using Cohen κ statistic. Telemedicine-related technical failures that impeded remote assessment were recorded.
Results—Simultaneous and independent telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist assessment was attempted in 174 patients. In 4 patients (2%), the telemedicine vascular neurologist could not make a decision because of technical problems. The telemedicine vascular neurologist agreed with the onboard vascular neurologist on 88% of evaluations (κ=0.73).
Conclusions—Remote telemedicine vascular neurologist assessment is reliable and accurate, supporting either telemedicine vascular neurologist or onboard vascular neurologist assessment on our mobile stroke unit.
- Received September 7, 2016.
- Revision received November 11, 2016.
- Accepted November 29, 2016.
- © 2017 American Heart Association, Inc.