An Idea from Oregon Neurology Associates: Battle Mini-Strokes

Did you know that people routinely suffer something called a “mini-stroke?” Ok, actually it’s called a transient ischemic attack (TIA), but mini-stroke is a lot easier to say, and makes more sense. Basically, a TIA has several of the symptoms of a small stroke, but since the symptoms don’t last very long, they’re a little harder to identify. And, unlike a stroke, victims of a TIA usually feel much better after a few days. So you’re probably thinking, “A TIA is a much better alternative to a small stroke.” In a sense, you’re correct. But unfortunately, the way our healthcare system is structured, there’s a hidden danger with TIAs that lurks beneath the surface.

Let’s break it down with an example. Let’s say you suffer a TIA and wisely visit the Emergency Room. They ER would do their job, get you immediate treatment and you’d probably feel much better. Then, they would suggest that you follow-up with a neurologist to seek the next steps to your recovery. Here’s the flaw in the system: it usually takes a few weeks to get an appointment with a neurologist. In the meantime, you feel better in a few days, and say to yourself, “I don’t need to see another doctor, I feel great!” But the real risk of TIAs is that they make you much more prone to a secondary stroke. Similar to a small earthquake that is immediately followed by a monster quake that sends the Richter Scale spinning, the secondary stroke is usually much larger and more dangerous.  

Not being able to see a neurologist right away is a huge problem, and it was having a pretty severe effect on TIA patients. Luckily, one of our partnering providers, Oregon Neurology Associates, identified the problem and came up with a possible solution. They’re the pros when it comes to the brain, strokes, and TIAs, and they knew that if a neurologist could see a TIA patient within 24 hours, the likelihood of preventing an after-shock stroke was pretty darn good. Seeing a neurologist right away sounds simple, but to make a neurologist available, they would need to leave blocks of their time open. When you’re a medical provider, leaving open blocks of time leads to direct financial losses, and isn’t feasible in the long run. So even though Oregon Neurology Associates was eager to help, financially, there were some obstacles in the way of making it happen.

That’s where PacificSource came in. Through a grant, we funded those open slots of time for 2 years. So when a TIA patient came through the ER, one of the doctors at Oregon Neurology Associates would be available see them immediately. As a result, those victims who might have suffered a secondary after-shock stroke stayed healthy for the long haul.

A stroke wreaks havoc on a person’s life, so preventing them directly improves that person’s well being. Every stroke carries an estimated cost of about $80,000, and can dramatically change lives and families in an instant. As the program became well-known, Oregon Neurology Associates was able to continue the program through its normal clinic operations and without grant funding from PacificSource. 

This is a prime example of how innovative ideas can change healthcare. The folks at Oregon Neurology Associates saw an opportunity, they found the right partner, and they fixed a problem that was harming their community. To everyone at Oregon Neurology Associates, thank you for having the foresight to make a change in our community.

What other opportunities are out there? By helping us identify issue in healthcare, you can play a part in finding a resolution. As always, we’d love your ideas, and feel free to share them here.

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2 Comments

  1. This paragraph is truly a nice one it helps new the web users, who are
    wishing for blogging.

    Reply
  2. Picky Eater

     /  August 3, 2012

    I had never heard of this before. I love it when little things make a big difference. Very cool!

    Reply

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