Benchmarking Telestroke Proficiency: Page-to-Needle Time Among Neurovascular Fellows and Attendings

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Formal telestroke training for neurovascular fellows (NVFs) is necessary because of growing use of telestroke technologies in the management of acute ischemic stroke; yet, educational approaches and training benchmarks are not formalized. Time between telestroke consultant page and tissue-type plasminogen activator administration (page-to-needle time, PTNT) can provide an objective measure of proficiency. We compared PTNT between NVFs and neurovascular attendings (NVAs) and evaluated changes in PTNT with experience.

Methods—

We identified suspected acute ischemic stroke patients in our telestroke registry from July 2013 to December 2015 who received tissue-type plasminogen activator. Using multivariable quantile regression, we estimated the difference and 95% confidence interval in median PTNT between NVFs and NVAs. We also report the coefficient of change in PTNT over increasing number of telestroke consults.

Results—

NVFs evaluated 53.7% of 618 tissue-type plasminogen activator cases over telestroke. NVAs had significantly shorter PTNT compared with NVFs, with a difference in median PTNT of −9 minutes (95% confidence interval, −12.3 to −5.7). This difference persisted when adjusted for relative tissue-type plasminogen activator contraindications. For each additional telestroke consult, PTNT decreased by 0.07 minutes for NVFs or NVAs (P=0.02 and <0.01, respectively).

Conclusions—

PTNT improves by ≈1 minute for every 14 consults for both NVFs and NVAs. Our findings support the importance of integrating telestroke training into supervised neurovascular fellowships to increase proficiency prior to independent practice and suggest that PTNT can be a benchmark for tracking proficiency.

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