Each year in Ontario, 16,000 people will experience a stroke, at a cost to the economy of $964M in medical and other stroke-related costs. However, stroke’s enormous burden canbe significantly reduced by implementing the use of a thrombolytic drug like tPA. Clinical research shows that patients with acute stroke treated with tPA within the first 4.5 hours of symptom onset have better outcomes, with 30% more patients recovering with no or minor disability. The sooner the treatment is started the better the results.

The Provincial Telestroke Program is a component of Ontario’s stroke strategy and provides stroke patients in remote areas of the province with access to life-saving emergency care that they might not receive without this real-time expert neurological assessment. Telestroke uses eHealth Ontario’s Emergency Neuro Image Transfer System (ENITS), a centralized web-based picture archiving and communication system for head scans that can be accessed and viewed by participating neurologists.

The Provincial Telestroke Program:

  • provides 24/7 stroke coverage via OTN;
  • uses CritiCall Ontario to contact a neurologist; and
  • supports discussions between ED physicians and a neurologist regarding the treatment of stroke patients, including the administration of tPA.

"Telestroke makes it possible for a neurologist to be at the patient’s bedside – even when that patient is hundreds of miles away – and assist the local physician with determining the most effective therapy possible." -Dr. Frank Silver, Neurologist and Medical Director, Telestroke