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The application of telemedicine for stroke in the Balearic Islands: the Balearic Telestroke project
INTRODUCTION. Currently, clinical benefits of stroke units and thrombolysis in ischaemic stroke are evidence-based. However, inequities in coverage and in treatment provided to these patients still persist due to geographical differences in residence, technological capacity and organization among health care systems. Telestroke is considered to be an effective tool for reducing inequities in coverage and health outcomes of stroke patients. DEVELOPMENT. This paper reviews the requirements of implementation of telestroke units, their deployment in the Health Service of the Balearic Islands, and the main experiences reported so far. Further, preliminary results of an ongoing formal assessment of effectiveness and safety of telestroke relative to conventional stroke treatment are advanced.
CONCLUSIONS. Implementation of a telestroke system is feasible and allows increasing specialized treatment coverage. The Health Service of the Balearic Islands is fulfilling its goal of improving thrombolysis coverage by means of telestroke. Its effectiveness and safety appear to be similar to those of conventional treatment.