Innovation Where It Counts

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Published on January 10, 2019

Innovation Where It Counts

Photo of doctor addressing patient's issue using monitor technology

PIH Health Installs State-of-the-Art Telemedicine Platform to Speed Stroke Care

Photo of doctor addressing patient's issue using monitor technologyEvery 40 seconds, someone in the United States experiences a stroke—and in these situations, every second matters. Getting treated quickly and having immediate access to neurological expertise at the bedside is essential to ward off a stroke’s potentially devastating effects.

“During an acute stroke, brain cell loss is measured in minutes,” said Shao-Pow Lin MD PhD, PIH Health neuro-interventional radiologist. “If a stroke patient needs tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)—the only approved medicine for acute ischemic stroke (when an artery in the brain is blocked by a blood clot)—it must be administered within three hours of the first symptoms in order to be effective. Similarly, if a surgical procedure for physical removal of a large blood clot is indicated, this must be done as soon as possible to achieve the best possible outcome. In other words, rapid diagnosis and treatment is key.”

Having the ability to rapidly assess patients with acute stroke symptoms 24-hours a day, seven days a week, poses a unique challenge. Traditional in-person medical practice isn’t always the most efficient way to provide stroke care.

For this reason, PIH Health recently invested in cutting-edge technology—the InTouch Health telemedicine platform. In July 2018, PIH Health installed this system at each of our hospital’s emergency departments, keeping our Comprehensive Stroke Center on the forefront of innovation.

This technology provides our emergency room physicians with immediate access to our board-certified neurologists and interventional radiologists (even if they’re in a different location) via real-time, two-way audio and video communication. Utilizing secure, high-quality video conference capabilities, our medical teams can quickly evaluate stroke patients, consult with families, view test results and administer appropriate treatments as quickly as possible from virtually anywhere, and at any time.

This level of speed and efficiency is critical when treating stroke symptoms. With the use of the InTouch Health telemedicine platform, around-the-clock neurological expertise is now available for stroke patients at both PIH Health Whittier Hospital and PIH Health Downey Hospital.

“Adding this new technology reinforces PIH Health’s commitment to providing greater access to comprehensive stroke care in our community,” added Dr. Lin. “Faster diagnosis leads to faster treatment and faster treatment leads to better outcomes.”

To learn more about the PIH Health Comprehensive Stroke Center, visit

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.