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Improving stroke care in regional and rural Australia
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Improving stroke care in regional and rural Australia

Dr Candice Delcourt, Institution: University of New South Wales

2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2020


Someone has a stroke every 9 minutes in Australia. This burden is higher in regional and rural Australia where there are health disparities caused by remoteness and limited access to specialist care and services. Most regional and rural hospitals do not have the personnel or the infrastructure to deliver optimal care to stroke patients and primary care providers have fragmented access to expert neurological opinion and decision assistance.

This research will assess pathways using telemedicine strategies aimed at patients, primary care providers and regional hospitals and specialists. It will evaluate improvements in the management of patients with acute neurological symptoms by establishing telemedicine links between stroke specialists, patients and their primary care providers. By improving diagnosis, providing more timely management and enhancing secondary prevention and patient education, it is expected that the risk of stroke or recurrence will decrease in rural and regional areas in Australia.

The second part of this research aims to increase the number of patients accessing effective acute stroke therapies targeting re-opening of blocked blood vessels. Connecting regional and rural hospital emergency departments with stroke specialists via telemedicine and using advanced radiological techniques will improve the diagnosis of stroke, provide a better selection of candidates for therapies, and subsequently improve outcomes for this group.

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