[Mobile computing systems in preclinical care of stroke. Results of the Stroke Angel initiative within the BMBF project PerCoMed].

Journal Title: 
Publication Date: 
Aug 07, 2008

BACKGROUND: Telemedical networks that apply innovative mobile information technologies (IT) are an innovative approach to improve stroke care in community settings. Within the German Stroke Angel initiative and the research project PerCoMed (Pervasive Computing in Medical Care, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, http://www.percomed.de) the effects of such a solution were assessed by an interdisciplinary research approach. The main goal of the team of researchers and practitioners was to provide clear evidence of improvements in intersectional processes of the stroke chain survival, namely in the acute stroke processes between prehospital rescue services and hospital stroke units.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Between October 2005 and October 2007 the paramedical staff of five rescue service transporters in a rural area of northern Bavaria was included in a network with the stroke unit of the Neurological Clinic Bad Neustadt. Telemedical support by the Stroke Angel computing system - a software running on a personal digital assistant (PDA) to transmit patient data from the rescue team to the hospital during patient transporting time - was established. As procedural guidance, the Stroke Angel system suggests a predefined path through the necessary emergency procedures according to the structure of the mandatory protocol and the implemented Los Angeles Prehospital Stroke Screen (LAPSS).

RESULTS: In the empirical study the authors obtained a complete data set of 226 consecutively admitted patients for analysis in Bad Neustadt and LAPSS data of 217 patients from a second scenario in Düsseldorf. Medical, economic and technical analyses were applied. The technological robustness of the Stroke Angel system could be proven and information entered was transmitted fully and correctly. Concerning medical research questions, for both scenario locations LAPSS with a sensitivity of 68.3% and a specificity of 85.1% has to be deemed insufficient. Hence, alternative algorithms will have to be used in the next steps of evaluation. The system significantly influenced the clinical process of acute stroke management more than the preclinical ones (door-to-CT: 32 min. before and 16 min. at the end of the project). Lysis treatment rose from 6.12% (2005) to 11.17% (2007) of patients with acute stroke.

CONCLUSIONS: From the set of perspectives taken, the study illustrates that mobile computing technologies offer new and innovative approaches to improve intersectional acute stroke care. It also teaches the participants that interdisciplinary research can significantly deepen the understanding of such technologies and projects, which can lead to better decision making concerning solution implementation, management and improvements. The approach will be brought into daily practice in Bad Neustadt/Saale within the next months.