by Antonella Cachia, Marketing Executive
There are approximately 152,000 strokes in the UK every year. That is more than one every five minutes. Stroke is the fourth largest cause of death in the UK after cancer, heart disease, causing almost 50,000 deaths. For every 1,000 patients who receive thrombolysis, a clot-busting treatment, 80 will live more independently - Stroke Association.
According to further studies carried out by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2001, it was estimated that stroke accounts for nearly 9.6% mortality rate out of 135 diseases. Stroke is leading to a reduction of quality of life globally. Given these alarming statistics, there has been a public effort to reduce the incidence of the disease. Along with advances in technology, innovations have increasingly been utilised to provide medical professionals, as well as the general public with more information about cerebrovascular diseases, and efforts are being made to help better manage the condition.
Technology in the 21st century
Information technology and mobile devices have become beneficial and useful in many aspects of stroke management. There is no doubt that technology in the 21st century is having major contributions in stroke management and to the overall patient’s experience and sustainability of health services.
Facilitating stroke management through mobile technology
Treatment of stroke requires specialised processes that are appropriately provided. A multidisciplinary team approach in the hospital and efficient communication between the stroke unit and the emergency medical system are prerequisites to a good outcome for patients with acute stroke. Information technology can reduce the rate of errors, improve communication, make information more readily accessible, assist in diagnosis and monitoring, provide decision support, and enhance implementation of guidelines and recommendations.
The World Health Organization has recently defined mobile health as "medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants, and other wireless devices". Mobile devices are increasingly being used to diagnose and treat various diseases. Current mobile devices are particularly suited for medical purposes because of their rich multi-touch user interfaces, fast processors, and widely available network connections. Additional benefits of mobile devices are that they can be carried easily and can be used anytime and anywhere.
IT and mobile health in the clinical management pathway of stroke patients
The benefit of the patients eligible for the clot-busting treatment is time-dependant, and treatment should be initiated as quickly as possible because patients treated with thrombolysis quicker have better outcomes. Technology is helping in this time critical event for the administration of the drug against the background where the average door-to-needle time in England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 57 minutes (April – June 2014) – Stroke Statistics, January 2016 *.
Within hospitals, established protocols are beneficial to optimise medical processes. Incorporation of technology and clinical systems can enhance communication among team members. Shortening door-to-needle time requires rapid decision-making and action by medical staff members in different departments. The conventional methods of communications such as phone and paper notes do not allow for simultaneous notification between stroke team members.
Information technology and smart devices such as StrokePad™ can be useful in many aspects of stroke management, which will also improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, there are various stroke applications in the market. However, most of them are developed without the involvement of clinicians. StrokePad has been designed and built in conjunction with clinicians of University London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH).
Learn more about the benefits and in-built capabilities of this unique clinical solution.
* Data extracted from State of the Nation, Stroke Statistics, January 2016, Stroke Association [Online] https://www.stroke.org.uk/sites/default/files/stroke_statistics_2015.pd