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Echuca leads the way in stroke management

A number of health professionals and dignitaries gathered this morning to witness Health Minister Peter Dutton launch the $9 million Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program.

RHIANNON HORRELL August 21, 2014 1:22pm
Echuca Regional Health is leading the charge in the adoption of a new telemedicine program which can provide significant improvements for stroke victims.
 
Health Minister Peter Dutton launched the Victorian Stroke Telemedicine Program this morning and ERH staff viewed the proceedings by videolink.
 
The $9 million program was described as an ‘‘absolute watershed moment’’ in stroke management, by Professor Geoffrey Donnan of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health.
 
The program will increase the number of people who can receive clot-busting medication known as thrombolysis. 
 
Until now, country emergency departments have often been unable to give the clot-busting treatment as it requires detailed assessment to ensure a patient qualifies for its use. 
 
It must be given to suitable patients within four and a half hours of the stroke symptom onset.
 
But now, local doctors can be linked to mobile “telemedicine carts”, which provide a high-quality audiovisual connection.
 
‘‘The potential for this technology to benefit small communities is enormous,’’ Prof Donnan said.
 
ERH chief executive Michael Delahunty said Echuca was leading the way for the federal and state-funded project. ‘‘This will have a huge benefit for the community.’’
 
More in tomorrow’s Riv. 
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