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Beebe Healthcare Expands Partnership with Jefferson Neuroscience Network

Beebe team with Jefferson stroke robot

Since 2016, Beebe Healthcare has been a member of the Thomas Jefferson Neuroscience Network. Recently, it was announced that the partnership would be expanded to include a robotic teleconferencing unit in Beebe’s Emergency Department.

The Jefferson Expert Teleconsulting or JET unit is the region’s first university-based, high-tech mobile robot system for acute stroke.

When a patient comes into Beebe’s Emergency Department with a suspected stroke, the emergency teams spring into action to run tests and get a medical history on the patient. As soon as a stroke is suspected, the JET protocol is started.

In addition to being used for patients who come in through the Emergency Department, the JET protocol will also be used for patients who have a stroke while already admitted to the hospital.

The stroke robot provides Jefferson Network hospitals with 24/7 access to vascular neurologists and neurosurgeons for emergency consultation services. The goal is to complement the care provided by community neurologists and/or emergency physicians to those patients presenting with symptoms of a stroke.

The process starts with a phone call from Beebe’s emergency team to the Jefferson Neuroscience Network to reach the on-call stroke neurologist.

Then the neurologist connects with the Beebe team via a mobile robotic system in the emergency room. The mobile robotic system allows the neurologist to speak directly to the team, the patient, and family members via secure videoconference technology. This allows the Jefferson neurologist to gather information, as well as to conduct a neurologic examination on the patient. The Jefferson neurologist can also review test results and medical history while on the teleconference.

“This system allows us to be more efficient when treating stroke patients,” said Nick Perchiniak, MD, of Sussex Emergency Associates, the team providing care in Beebe’s Emergency Department. “When it comes to stroke, time is brain, so it is very important to be able to diagnose and treat a stroke patient quickly. The Jefferson robot allows us to have quick access to their neurology experts within minutes of a patient’s arrival.”

Once the immediate treatment plan is put into action, the Beebe and Jefferson medical teams are able to make decisions about the best next steps for the patient, including transport to Jefferson if necessary.

“This is going to be especially helpful at our new South Coastal Health Campus Emergency Department,” Dr. Perchiniak said. “We will have the mobile robot there as well so that if a patient comes in with a possible stroke, we can activate a stroke consultation with Jefferson quickly and get the patient the help they need.”

From South Coastal, patients could be taken by helicopter to Jefferson or to Beebe’s Margaret H. Rollins Lewes Campus. In Lewes, the patient could also be taken by helicopter to Jefferson.

In addition to the Jefferson stroke robot and videoconference system, Beebe’s Emergency Department also uses similar technology or telemedicine for psychiatric or behavioral health patients to connect with specialists in the region, and for children, the Emergency Department is able to teleconference with pediatric specialists at A.I. duPont/Nemours.

“This takes our relationship with Jefferson to a new level,” said Lynn Toth, DNP, MSN, NP-C, RN, cardiovascular medical specialist at Beebe. “It will be a great resource for both our medical teams and for the community. The program gives us nearly immediate access to renowned stroke experts, which can only improve the way we care for our community.”

About the Jefferson Neuroscience Network

Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia created the Jefferson Neuroscience Network to connect patients from regional hospitals, like Beebe, to the specialists at Jefferson who have the expertise to diagnose time-sensitive neurological disorders. When hospitals join this network, patients have access to:

  • The latest clinical protocols and trials
  • Community-based specialists
  • Community education programs
  • Priority transfers to Jefferson for acutely ill patients
  • Jefferson Expert Teleconsulting or JET, the region’s first university-based, high- tech mobile robotic system for acute stroke

Caption: Shown with the Jefferson stroke robot in the Beebe Emergency Department are (left to right) Loretta Ostroski, Director of Patient Care Services; Susan Mross, Clinical Emergency Department Nurse; Sue Ann Newsham, Nurse Manager, Beebe Emergency Department; and Dr. Nick Perchiniak, Emergency Department physician.