NARMC is a part of the AR SAVES program, which connects rural hospitals to neurologists in larger healthcare organizations to treat strokes quickly. AR SAVES means the difference between life and death for many patients. Before the AR SAVES program was initiated in Arkansas, the state ranked first nationally for stroke mortality in 2013. We are now sixth in the nation.
NARMC has been an AR SAVES site since November 2011. The AR SAVES program helps patients in rural hospitals get the care they need through telemedicine. Patients and neurologists are connected via a webcam. The neurologist is able to assess and treat the patient immediately instead of having to wait for a patient transfer. The physician is able to prescribe IV t-PA in order to treat the stroke.
IV t-PA is the only FDA-approved treatment for an Acute Ischemic stroke, which make up 87 percent of strokes each year. The medication must be given within 3 hours of symptom onset (it can be extended to 4.5 hours in some situations) to be effective.
Arkansas’s goal for door to needle time, which is the time between entering the hospital with signs of a stroke to the administration of medication, is 60 minutes. At NARMC, the record of door to needle time is 39 minutes.
Being able to assess symptoms and diagnose a patient with a stroke through AR SAVES means they can get the medicine and treatment they need in a timely manner. For stroke patients, time truly can be the difference between life and death.
In fall 2017, a 75-year-old woman entered the NARMC ER exhibiting signs of a stroke. The left side of her body was weak, and she had facial drooping on the left side of her face. She was assessed and given medicine within 41 minutes of entering NARMC.
Today, that particular patient is 100% back to normal.
“She has no cognitive deficit at all,” her daughter said. “If it hadn’t of been for NARMC, my life would have been permanently changed.”
NARMC has been recognized for quality care since becoming an AR SAVES site. NARMC received the AR SAVES Site of the Year in 2015, received the Physicians Champions Award in 2015 and Site Excellence Award in 2017.