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Artificial Intelligence and Quick Action are Key to Recovery From Stroke

B.E.  F.A.S.T

Although nearly 800,000 Americans will have a new or recurrent stroke this year, their opportunities for recovery have never been greater. But key to that recovery is quick action.

“Time is brain,” said Morgan Boyer, clinical program coordinator for Penn State Health St. Joseph Medical Center. “When people wait, their chances of disability increase and recovery goes down.”

As a certified Primary Stroke Center, St. Joseph Medical Center is focused on providing exceptional stroke care, working closely with pre-hospital services to improve their stroke knowledge and use the latest advancements in medical technology to expedite diagnosis and speed recovery.

“Through the use of Viz.ai, an artificial intelligence software, we’re able to rapidly share cerebral CT images with Emergency Department providers and our colleagues at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to expedite clinical decision making,” said Boyer, adding that the technology has resulted in patients being treated in less than the 90-minute national standard. “All providers involved can talk through an app, see the same information and keep everything clear instead of losing things in translation.”

St. Joseph Medical Center also has invested in its prehospital partners by offering them Advanced Stroke Life Support training that significantly improves their stroke knowledge and patient skills. Not only do they learn ways to assess patients in more detail, they are better prepared to pick up on signs and symptoms that help St. Joseph better serve its patients.

“The training has really helped them understand the importance of taking patients to a certified Primary Stroke Center,” Boyer said. “It also has helped them identify signs and symptoms that they didn’t realize previously were important to us in making quicker treatment decisions.”

Adding to their treatment challenges, is the fact that stroke is no longer considered a geriatric disease.

“Things have changed, and the incidence of strokes in people 40 to 60 years old has exploded nationally,” Boyer said. “It is a health crisis.”

One of the reasons behind the increasing numbers is the prevalence of chronic diseases, such as COPD, diabetes and heart failure.

“People having strokes in their 40s likely have been dealing with high blood pressure and diabetes for a decade plus,” she said. “Their risks have increased over what we have seen in generations past.”

St. Joseph Medical Center has responded with the recent introduction of the Chronic Disease Wellness Hour, a monthly educational and emotional support group for patients living with chronic diseases.

“Chronic diseases play into exacerbations that force patients to seek emergency services that could be prevented,” Boyer said. “If they have a person who keeps them on point, someone to talk to for support, they have a greater likelihood of success. The goal is for the client to own their disease.”

The group meets the third Thursday of every month from 10 to 11 a.m. at Penn State Health St. Joseph Spring Ridge, 2607 Keiser Blvd., Wyomissing. A second group meets the last Wednesday of every month from 1 to 2 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Downtown Campus, 145 N. 6th Street, Reading, where it is offered in both English and Spanish. To register, call 610-378-2030.

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