New scientific evidence justifies the increased use of ‘telemedicine’ for stroke care, showing remote examinations via videoconferencing to be just as effective as a bedside appraisal.

High-quality video-conferencing gives physicians improved access to stroke patients in rural areas, according to a report in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Harvard Medical School associate professor of neurology and lead author of the scientific and policy statement Lee Schwamm said this form of remote treatment offers a lot of benefit.

“Telemedicine is an effective avenue to eliminate disparities in access to acute stroke care, erasing the inequalities introduced by geography, income or social circumstance,” he explained.

Quick treatment for strokes and transient ischemic attack, such as tissue plasminogen activator, is vital to protecting brain function and reducing disability.

In the US there are only four neurologists per 100,000 people and Schwamm promotes that telemedicine can extend the reach of these health professionals.