Novant Health Greater Charlotte market is comprised of three advanced primary stroke care centers; one providing 24/7 stroke interventional radiology coverage. To expedite the transfer of patients meeting criteria for mechanical thrombectomy, the stroke best practice teams in the two community primary stroke centers collaborated to develop a protocol to improve the decision to transfer time to meet a goal of 120 minutes from door to skin puncture time, regardless of original transport destination.
The Novant Health Charlotte market teams realize the benefit of cohesive physician coverage among the Emergency Department, Radiology and Inpatient Neurology physician providers. CTA scans performed in the non-interventional facilities are readily available to Neuro-Endovascular Radiologists, allowing for prompt interpretation and mobilization of the IR team to prepare for patient arrival.
Recognizing internal critical care transport resources are limited and may not be available, the process was facilitated by the development of an activase transport protocol implemented by Mecklenburg County EMS in June of 2016. Since actual transport time is affected by traffic patterns in urban areas, the controllable measure selected by the teams was decision to transfer time.
Prior to the initiation of the protocol, the median decision to transfer time for ischemic stroke patients requiring tertiary care was 66.5 minutes. Post protocol implementation the median time was reduced 32% to 44.5 minutes. Across the market, median door to skin puncture time in 2016 is 131.5 minutes.
Ongoing evaluation of the transfer process, and multidisciplinary IR case review with identification of process variation is key to the success of this initiative. The Emergency Department at the tertiary care facility has been an instrumental partner in identifying issues that are barriers to timely throughput of these patients.
A consistent feedback process informs all team members regarding patient outcomes. Individual case feedback is provided to all direct care givers, EMS crews and stroke team leaders, usually within 24 to 48 hours of the intervention. This data is shared monthly with the stroke best practice teams at the transferring facilities.