Governor Beebe Witnesses Sparks Telemedicine in Action

(January 25, 2012) - Sparks Health System is leading the way to making quality healthcare accessible to residents throughout our region. Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe visited Sparks Regional Medical Center Wednesday, January 25 for a demonstration of the Arkansas Oklahoma Healthcare Consortium’s telemedicine program in action. In the simulation, neurologist Margaret Tremwel, M.D., PhD, showed how she uses telemedicine technology to diagnose and treat a stroke patient who arrives at the emergency room at Sequoyah Memorial Hospital in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

Sequoyah Memorial is one of ten regional healthcare facilities that are a part of the AOK Healthcare Consortium. The others, in addition to Sparks, include Stilwell Memorial Hospital, Haskell County Healthcare System, Eastern Oklahoma Medical Center, Choctaw Nation Hospital, Mena Healthcare System, Booneville Community Hospital, Dardanelle Hospital and Johnson Regional Medical Center.

Through this regional partnership, with the use of telemedicine technology, smaller community hospitals are able to provide their residents access to the same nationally-recognized, timely stroke care only available at Sparks Regional Medical Center. In the case of stroke, it saves precious time, and has preserved or saved the lives of 41 people from January through November of 2011. (December data is not yet available.)

The AOK Healthcare Consortium’s Regional Telemedicine Network identifies funding opportunities to better serve the healthcare needs of residents, maintains the telemedicine network which connects Sparks as the hub and member facilities as spokes, and promotes regional cooperation between healthcare facilities to improve our region’s quality of care. The group is working now to expand its telemedicine abilities to include pulmonology, cardiology and other specialized care which is currently not available in smaller communities.

Sparks Health System’s vision is to be known for excellence in the delivery of comprehensive medical services and to be an innovator of quality health services to benefit the communities we serve. We are certainly proud to be leading the way in providing healthcare through telemedicine so that residents throughout our region have better access to life-preserving and life-saving treatments. We are also extremely proud of our nationally-recognized stroke treatment and research program which has won the Gold Seal of Advanced Accreditation from the Joint Commission, naming Sparks Regional Medical Center a Primary Stroke Center. Sparks is also recognized with a “Gold Plus” seal from the American Heart and Stroke Associations for our Stroke Performance Achievement.