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Reliability of Real-Time Video Smartphone for Assessing National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale in Stroke Patients: The Next Generation of Telestroke

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Telestroke networks reduce disparities in acute stroke care between metropolitan primary stroke centers and remote hospitals. Current technologies used to conduct remote patient assessments have very high start-up costs, yet

Telestroke networks reduce disparities in acute stroke care between metropolitan primary stroke centers and remote hospitals. Current technologies used to conduct remote patient assessments have very high start-up costs, yet they cannot consistently establish quality connection in a timely manner. Smartphgones can be used for high quality video teleconferencing (HQ-VTC). They are relatively inexpensive and widley used among healthcare providers. We aimed to study the reliability of HQ-VTC using smartphones for conducting the NIHSS. Two vascular neurologists (VNs) assessed 83 stroke patients with the NIHSS. The remote VN assessed patients using videoconferencing on a smartphone with the assistance of a bedside medical aide. The bedside VN rated patients ontemporaneously. Each VN was blinded to the other's NIHSS scores. We tested the inter-method agreement and physician satisfaction with the device. We demonstrated high total NIHSS score correlation between the methods (r=0.941, p<0.001). The mean total NIHSS scores for bedside and remote assessments were 7.3 plus or minus 7.9 and 6.7 plus or minus 7.6 with ranges of 0-30 and 0-37, respectively. Seven NIHSS categories had significantly high agreement beyond chance: LOC-questions, LOC-commands, visual fields, motor left arm, motor right arm, motor left leg, motor right leg; seven categories had moderate agreement: LOC-consciousness, best gaze, facial palsy, sensory, best language, dysarthria, extinction/inattention; one category had poor agreement: ataxia. There was high physician satisfaction with the device. The VNs rated 96% of the assessments as good or very good for "image quality," "sound quality," "ease of use," and "ability to assess subject using NIHSS," and 84% of the assesssments as good or very good for "reception in hospital." The smartphones with HQ-VTC is reliable, easy to use, and affordable for telestroke NIHSS administration. This device has high physician satisfaction. With the variety of smartphones and professional medical applications available today, the telestroke practitioner has all the tools necessary for fast clinical decision-makingby accessing electronic medial records, viewing images, and tracking patient vitals.

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  • 2012-05