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Cover story Remote Access Extends Specialty Care to More Patients STORY HIGHLIGHTS Telemedicine mitigates geography as a barrier to patients receiving appropriate treatment in remote areas. Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center was the first hospital in the world to introduce remote-presence robots. WWW.UCLAHEALTH.ORG (continued from cover) they are not diagnosed quickly and accurately, according to Dr. Satou. “If we know the diagnosis prenatally or at birth, we can stabilize the newborn with continuously infused medication until we can transfer the patient to an appropriate pediatric heart center,” he says. The diagnostic process is facilitated by a trained technician at the treating hospital, who takes and uploads digital ultrasound images to a secure server. Dr. Satou reviews the images remotely from a desktop or laptop computer with high- speed Internet access and data encryption and then discusses his recommendations with the attending physician. 1-800-UCLA-888 (1-800-825-2888) Similar technology is used in the treatment of stroke. “Telestroke facilitates remote cerebrovascular specialty assessment from any location within minutes of consultation, adding greater expertise to the care of stroke patients,” says Latisha Ali, MD, director of UCLA’s TeleStroke Network Partner Program. “We can examine someone interactively, review brain images and provide treatment recommendations in real time.” If given within three hours of the first symptom, the clot-busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) may reduce long-term disability from stroke. The American Heart Association estimates that only 3 percent to 5 percent of ischemic stroke patients are treated with thrombolysis. “Using this