Telemedicine Can Replace the Neurologist on a Mobile Stroke Unit

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Background and Purpose—

The BEST-MSU study (Benefits of Stroke Treatment Delivered Using a Mobile Stroke Unit) is a comparative effectiveness trial in patients randomized to mobile stroke unit or standard management. A substudy tested interrater agreement for tissue-type plasminogen activator eligibility between a telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist.


On scene, both the telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist independently evaluated the patient, documenting their tissue-type plasminogen activator treatment decision, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score, and computed tomographic interpretation. Agreement was determined using Cohen κ statistic. Telemedicine-related technical failures that impeded remote assessment were recorded.


Simultaneous and independent telemedicine vascular neurologist and onboard vascular neurologist assessment was attempted in 174 patients. In 4 patients (2%), the telemedicine vascular neurologist could not make a decision because of technical problems. The telemedicine vascular neurologist agreed with the onboard vascular neurologist on 88% of evaluations (κ=0.73).


Remote telemedicine vascular neurologist assessment is reliable and accurate, supporting either telemedicine vascular neurologist or onboard vascular neurologist assessment on our mobile stroke unit.

Clinical Trial Registration—

URL: Unique identifier: NCT02190500.

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