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J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis ; 30(7): 105802, 2021 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1188832


While use of telemedicine to guide emergent treatment of ischemic stroke is well established, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated the rapid expansion of care via telemedicine to provide consistent care while reducing patient and provider exposure and preserving personal protective equipment. Temporary changes in re-imbursement, inclusion of home office and patient home environments, and increased access to telehealth technologies by patients, health care staff and health care facilities were key to provide an environment for creative and consistent high-quality stroke care. The continuum of care via telestroke has broadened to include prehospital, inter-facility and intra-facility hospital-based services, stroke telerehabilitation, and ambulatory telestroke. However, disparities in technology access remain a challenge. Preservation of reimbursement and the reduction of regulatory burden that was initiated during the public health emergency will be necessary to maintain expanded patient access to the full complement of telestroke services. Here we outline many of these initiatives and discuss potential opportunities for optimal use of technology in stroke care through and beyond the pandemic.

COVID-19 , Continuity of Patient Care , Delivery of Health Care, Integrated , Ischemic Stroke/therapy , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care , Telemedicine , Continuity of Patient Care/economics , Delivery of Health Care, Integrated/economics , Fee-for-Service Plans , Health Care Costs , Healthcare Disparities , Humans , Insurance, Health, Reimbursement , Ischemic Stroke/diagnosis , Ischemic Stroke/economics , Occupational Health , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care/economics , Patient Safety , Telemedicine/economics
Ann Vasc Surg ; 70: 306-313, 2021 Jan.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-739733


BACKGROUND: The situation of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic in the Indian subcontinent is worsening. In Bangladesh, rate of new infection has been on the rise despite limited testing facility. Constraint of resources in the health care sector makes the fight against COVID-19 more challenging for a developing country like Bangladesh. Vascular surgeons find themselves in a precarious situation while delivering professional services during this crisis. With the limited number of dedicated vascular surgeons in Bangladesh, it is important to safeguard these professionals without compromising emergency vascular care services in the long term. To this end, we at the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hospital, Dhaka, have developed a working guideline for our vascular surgeons to follow during the COVID-19 pandemic. The guideline takes into account high vascular work volume against limited resources in the country. METHODS: A total of 307 emergency vascular patients were dealt with in the first 4 COVID-19 months (March through June 2020) according to the working guideline, and the results were compared with the 4 pre-COVID-19 months. Vascular trauma, dialysis access complications, and chronic limb-threatening ischemia formed the main bulk of the patient population. Vascular health care workers were regularly screened for COVID-19 infection. RESULTS: There was a 38% decrease in the number of patients in the COVID-19 period. Treatment outcome in COVID-19 months were comparable with that in the pre-COVID-19 months except that limb loss in the chronic limb-threatening ischemia patients was higher. COVID-19 infection among the vascular health care professionals was low. CONCLUSIONS: Vascular surgery practice guidelines customized for the high work volume and limited resources of the National Institute of Cardiovascular Diseases and Hospital, Dhaka were effective in delivering emergency care during COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring safety of the caregivers. Despite the fact that similar guidelines exist in different parts of the world, we believe that the present one is still relevant on the premises of a deepening COVID-19 crisis in a developing country like Bangladesh.

COVID-19 , Developing Countries , Hospitals, High-Volume/standards , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care/standards , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/standards , Surgeons/standards , Vascular Surgical Procedures/standards , Workload/standards , Bangladesh , Developing Countries/economics , Health Care Costs/standards , Humans , Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care/economics , Practice Patterns, Physicians'/economics , Surgeons/economics , Time Factors , Treatment Outcome , Vascular Surgical Procedures/economics , Workload/economics