A Collaborative Effort
Contact Megan McDonald, Program Manager, at 303.806.7413 or by e-mail
- The American Telemedicine Association defines telemedicine as "the use of medical information exchanged from one site to another via electronic communications to improve patients' health status."
- NASA claims the first use of telemedicine to monitor astronauts' health data from the ground during space flights.
- According to reports and studies, almost 50 different medical subspecialties have successfully used telemedicine.
- Our telemedicine consultations are sometimes referred to as "Skype on steroids," but the CO-DOC system allows for a secure, encrypted, HIPAA-compliant virtual examination between the patient in a remote hospital and the specialist physician.
- Our telemedicine systems include a mobile cart with an onboard computer, monitor, high resolution camera and echo-cancelling microphone. Most of the units are wireless and can be moved to different locations in each partner hospital.
- During CO-DOC consults, our physicians can conduct the consults from anywhere there is an internet connection.
Launched in 2006, the CO-DOC Telemedicine Program (Collaborative Digital Online Consultant) is a cooperative effort between Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI), Blue Sky Neurosciences, Swedish Medical Center, and HealthONE Stroke Care. This innovative program serves communities in Colorado and across the Western states region that require 24/7 acute stroke neurology coverage but lack an on-staff stroke specialist. The CO-DOC Telemedicine Program meets this need, deploying proven technology to deliver highly specialized stroke expertise every day.
Today, the CO-DOC Telemedicine Program has expanded to several medical centers in rural, suburban and urban communities across the Western region. At this time, the CO-DOC Telemedicine Program is in the midst of focused attention throughout the HealthONE network, with the expectation that several new lines will soon be offered to our partner facilities. CO-DOC is a huge initiative for HealthONE, and big changes are expected very soon.
- 23 partner sites and 25 telemedicine systems
- More than 700 telemedicine consultations have been performed
- Of the number of patients evaluated for stroke through CO-DOC, approximately 21% are determined to be appropriate for acute treatment with t-PA, a "clot-busting" medication. This rate is estimated to be four times higher than the national average for t-PA administration, which is 5.5% according to the American Heart Association.
- 68% of CO-DOC Telemedicine patients remain in their community, and don't need to be transferred from their home facility to another hospital for specialized care. The important aspect of this statistic for our partner site administrators is that effectively 100% of the patients would have been recommended for transfer without the telemedicine consultation, thus saving the families and patients the cost and inconvenience of long-distance travel to busy metropolitan areas.
How the Technology Works
CO-DOC Telemedicine Team
L-R: Byron Rod Spencer, MD; Robert Pratt, MD; Ira Chang, MD; Jeffrey Wagner, MD; and Christopher Fanale, MD, CO-DOC Telemedicine Medical Director. Not pictured: Judd Judsen, MD.
Through the CO-DOC Telemedicine Program, stroke specialists at Blue Sky Neurology can be joined remotely by a site-independent, Internet-based, HIPAA-compliant telemedicine system to any hospital in our service area. This secure connection allows the neurologist to provide real-time acute stroke consultations--a critical service when literally every second counts.
The CO-DOC Telemedicine Program is a proprietary system that requires the installation of a movable cart equipped with a high-resolution video-conferencing system in emergency departments and a wireless laptop and headset combination that resides with an on-call neurologist. CO-DOC delivers smooth video through any Internet connection, automatic adaptability and error correction, dramatic zoom capabilities, excellent audio and video synchronization and no echo. Both the patient and physicians have two-way audio and video capabilities.
Community education about the signs and symptoms characterizing an acute stroke is an essential part of the CO-DOC Telemedicine Program. Just as important is the knowledge of the system within each community. The CO-DOC Community Education Manager and other CNI staff, as well as the program's Medical Director, Christopher V. Fanale, MD, a recognized stroke-treatment expert, are committed to educating both the host sites’ health care providers as well as their communities at large.
CO-DOC Telemedicine Partners
Colorado Neurological Institute
Since its founding as a non-profit organization in 1988, the Colorado Neurological Institute (CNI) has earned a reputation as a world-class facility, offering patients access to innovative clinical trials and new surgical techniques. CNI's specialized teams touch lives and change the future through a blend of physicians' knowledge, skills and talents that provide the highest level of care to patients with nearly every neurological condition and adults and children with hearing loss and ear disease.
Blue Sky Neurosciences
Blue Sky Neurosciences in Englewood, Colorado was established in January 2005 as a CO-DOC Telemedicine Program partner. The physicians of Blue Sky Neurosciences are all university-trained and board certified in neurology. Additionally, all members are fellowship-trained in subspecialties of neurology, many having additional board certifications, including two of only three fellowship-trained stroke neurologists in the state. Blue Sky Neurosciences strives to provide the most advanced, full-service, neurological care using the latest evidence-based guidelines.
Swedish Medical Center
Swedish Medical Center in Englewood, Colorado serves as the Rocky Mountain region's referral center for neurosciences and comprehensive stroke care. Swedish is the only facility in the region to be four-times certified by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, Swedish provides the most advanced care for adult and pediatric trauma. Each year Swedish continues to care for more than 142,000 patients with a team of 2,000 dedicated employees, 300 volunteers and more than 1200 physicians.
HealthONE Stroke Care
HealthONE Stroke Network specialists connect the region's foremost Stroke Care experts and Primary Stroke Centers with hospitals in Denver and medical facilities across the Colorado, western Kansas, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Our Stroke Network provides critical stroke care for patients in more places, faster than any other's. The Rocky Mountain Region's most comprehensive network includes teams of medical experts, telemedicine systems, clinical diagnostic systems, certified transport teams and interventional treatment and rehabilitation services.
For additional information about the CNI CO-DOC Telemedicine Program, contact:
Program Manager, CO-DOC Telemedicine Program