How one Arkansas hospital is using healthcare communication technology to dramatically improve time-to-treatment for stroke patients
BOZEMAN, Mont. — Pulsara, the leading mobile telehealth, communication, and logistics platform that unites health care teams and technologies across organizations during dynamic events, published new details on Arkansas-based Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock’s record improvements in treatment time for stroke patients. The Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock Case Study showcases the work the facility has put towards improving communication among EMS and hospital stroke teams and highlights the resulting decrease in time-to-treatment for stroke patients.
As a certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center and the largest private not-for-profit hospital in Arkansas, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock strives to improve treatment for patients wherever possible—including in how teams communicate to coordinate care for patients. Previously, an operator used the paging system to activate a code stroke, and members of the stroke team received a page containing the patient’s location via text or phone call.
The system worked on a basic level, but Sharon Aureli, RN, BSN, MSN, SCRN, CNOR, RNFA, CNL, and Neuro Program Line Manager at Baptist Health, knew that a more sophisticated communication system could help their teams reduce treatment times. “I always think there’s room for improvement,” she said.
In 2020, the State of Arkansas launched an initiative to improve treatment times for time-sensitive emergencies. Many organizations approached the goal by improving communication among care team members with Pulsara. Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock initially implemented Pulsara with the goal of improving STEMI care. After Aureli secured approval to use Pulsara for stroke, Baptist Health’s stroke teams became one of the first in the state to go live with Pulsara in October 2021. Since implementation, they’ve seen a significant decrease in the time it takes to get stroke patients definitive treatment. Over a span of five months, Baptist Health achieved a 58% decrease in average door-to-puncture time for stroke.
Patient care starts in the field where EMS uses Pulsara to start stroke cases. Instead of delivering a radio report to the hospital, EMS sends information like the patient’s name and chief complaint to the hospital while en route, allowing the hospital to activate the appropriate members of the stroke team. Images from the field, ECG transmission, ETA, and on-the-fly audio/video consults can all be shared right from the app.
“They all get the same message, they all get the same history, and they all get the same name,” said Aureli. “All that information comes through more consistently, with fewer phone calls on everybody else’s part.” As soon as the patient channel is activated, all team members are alerted and have the information they need to begin coordinating care and preparing for the patient’s arrival.
On-call specialists who aren’t at the hospital now review incoming patient cases as soon as EMS sends them, allowing them more time to assess the information and get to the hospital if they’re needed. Lindsey Bourne, MNSc, APRN, AGACNP-BC, ANVP-BC1, appreciates being able to talk to all team members in the same message stream. “It’s all right there. It’s one conversation,” she said. “A lot of our frustrations with lack of inter-team communication were resolved with the implementation of Pulsara.”
Having a more efficient method of communication has also helped build stronger relationships between EMS and hospital teams. Collaboration between hospital team members and their EMS partners has increased, with 61% of Pulsara stroke cases being started by EMS.
Baptist Health’s success with the app contributes to the larger effort by facilities across the state to improve patient care with Pulsara. In August 2023, the Arkansas Department of Health approved a grant that will allow all healthcare organizations across the state to use Pulsara. “Arkansas is the first state in the country to make the full functionality of this platform available to all EMS agencies, hospitals, affiliated healthcare facilities, public health, public safety, and emergency management,” said Bala Simon, MD, DrPH in a recent Arkansas Department of Health press release. “This will help our healthcare providers improve communication to improve patient care and outcomes.”
For more details, download the case study here.
About Baptist Health
For more than a century, Baptist Health has delivered All Our Best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health is Arkansas’ most comprehensive health care organization with more than 250 points of access that include 11 hospitals; urgent care centers; a senior living community; over 100 primary and specialty care clinics; a college with studies in nursing and allied health; and a graduate residency program. It is also the largest private not-for-profit health care organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit Baptist-Health.com, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app.
It’s about people. During the most critical moments in life, Pulsara unites distributed teams and fragmented technologies as dynamic events evolve on a scalable communications and logistics platform, improving the lives of people in need and those who serve them.
We envision a world where needless suffering is eliminated because communities can unite and communicate without friction. Pulsara customers report average reductions in treatment times of between 22% and 68%. For more information, visit www.pulsara.com.