Sishir Mannava, MD

International Stroke Conference 2022
February 9–11, 2022

Learning Studio Session: Speakers Panel on “Technology and Health in the Stroke Field”
Moderators: Dr. Nicole Gonzales and Dr. Lauren Fournier
Speakers: Dr. James Grotta, Dr. Sunil Sheth, Dr. Amanda Jagolino, Dr. Eliza Miller, Dr. Jennifer Rasmussen Winkler, Dr. Alicia Zha

The panel discussed many aspects of technology and health in the stroke field and what it has brought to us post-pandemic. In regard to telemedicine/telestroke care, some major advantages that the panel discussed are: increased outreach to communities that wouldn’t have received the care, including specific sub-populations of patients such as those who live very far away, postpartum care, and care for disabled patients who are unable to travel. Dr. Sheth highlighted that acute telestroke care isn’t the only advantage, the future hope is that we can use telestroke care consultation more for preventative stroke that may have a major impact on overall health care. 

When asked what the challenges are in rolling out telemedicine education for trainees, Dr. Jagolino felt that there were many challenges but that the concept and goal is for stroke fellows to feel comfortable giving tPa via telemedicine by the end of stroke fellowship. Dr. Zha highlighted that an important aspect of educating trainees is emphasizing the importance of “web side manner,” like bedside manner, which is just as key during telestroke consultations. 

Regarding mobile stroke units, Dr. James Grotta provided some key insights: 1) Location is key; put the MSU where the patients are. In a way, routes should parallel local fire rescue in the city. 2) All the studies to date have demonstrated that Mobile Stroke Units are cost-effective; hopefully, we will see more use of MSUs worldwide. 3) Mobile stroke units in underprivileged areas may be the most acute “hospital” available. 4) Regarding post-tPa care, nurses and other team members should be ACLS certified and monitor the patients closely after the acute decision-making is made by the telestroke provider (care does not stop after tPa decision).

Regarding social media and its growing use amongst medical providers, Dr. Miller said, “think before you tweet” because as beneficial as social media platforms can be, it is important to be mindful. Dr. Sheth said that Twitter is very useful for staying up-to-date on journal articles and can be an avenue to help promote your efforts along with your team members’ efforts, but it is also important to be very aware of HIPAA and how your tweets can be used. The panel stated that Twitter can be useful especially for early career and trainees to help promote research as well, and efforts on social media used in mentoring can be CV building. Patient outreach and education can also be of significant benefit to the public, but it’s important to be careful about not giving medical advice via social media.

As highlighted by an audience member, one of the major challenges moving forward will be increased medical provider advocacy for extending access to proper technology and Internet services to areas that currently do not have those resources. All medical providers can be, at the very least, local advocates for improving this access. 

Finally, Dr. Sheth highlighted that with improving machine learning software, it is key that stroke providers educate themselves on how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning software work to improve patient care.