VA Telestroke Uses New Technologies to Save Lives

Image of doctor holding a tablet and looking at the screen.

No, it’s not science fiction: Artificial intelligence has come to VA’s National Telestroke Program. Combined with existing telehealth capabilities, this innovation will further increase the speed at which Veterans receive care when having a stroke.

AI is a computer program that can learn to recognize patterns. In this case, the characteristic findings of a blockage in one of the large blood vessels in the head and neck. AI can identify those Veterans with this type of large vessel blockage causing a stroke more quickly than the provider could alone.

“AI is flagging blood vessel occlusions so that by the time the images get to physician review, they’re already marked and the physician can then confirm the findings quickly and make treatment decisions rapidly,” said Dr. Will Musser, National Telestroke Program Chief Medical Officer. Many Veterans live hours away from a medical facility that has a comprehensive stroke center where they would typically need to go to be assessed. But we’ve solved this ‘distance problem’ with technology.”

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