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Innovative Stroke Patient Management System Reduces Hospital Stay by Over 25 Percent

First Posted: Oct 06, 2014 04:48 AM EDT

Hospital stays of stroke patients have dramatically reduced with the introduction of an  innovative patient management system in British Columbia.

According to a study presented at the annual Canadian Stroke Congress in Vancouver, an innovative patient management system at the acute stroke unit of Kelowna (BC) General Hospital significantly lowered the number of stroke patient bed days by over 25 percent.  It is estimated that this new system is saving the 380 bed hospital more than 1,000 bed days per year

It also saves $800,000 in costs annually for the hospital. The program dubbed Proprietary Physician (Pro-MD), involves designating one of the five neurologists as primarily responsible for best bed usage and patient flow in the acute stroke unit.

"It's a win-win situation," says Dr. John B. Falconer, director of the transient ischemic attack (TIA) and stroke clinic at the hospital, and author of the study. "Patients are better and more efficiently treated, the hospital saves resources and the morale of the whole unit is much better. The ward becomes "that doctor's" ward; they have a propriety interest in it functioning well."

The key component of the program is that above the normal care given to the patients by the neurologists and caregivers, the Pro-MDs make twice weekly visits to all patients with the entire team that includes head nurse, occupational therapist, social workers, physiotherapist, rehab ward head nurse and transition nurse.

"This brings everyone who needs to have input into decisions about a patient's care together to agree on the action needed," says Dr. Falconer. "This is very advantageous compared to formerly having to compare written notes from one another and wait for input from others."

According to the report, compared to five years ago, currently more hospitals are designated as stroke centers and many hospitals have stroke teams and stroke units. More number of hospitals have also started using clot-busting drugs like tPA and telestroke capacity.  Other improvements include faster access to CT scans and more patients are being discharged with greater enhanced services or access to in-patient rehab.

The study was presented at the annual Canadian Stroke Congress in Vancouver.

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