Pilot project improving emergency response time for stroke patients

All New Brunswickers deserve accessible and quality health care and a positive patient experience, and this initiative is one example of how Horizon is committed to providing that every day.

(FREDERICTON) – A pilot project aimed at reducing the time it takes for a potential stroke patient to receive a Computed Tomography (CT) scan after they have arrived at the emergency department (ED) is seeing early success. The joint project between Horizon Health Network (Horizon) and Ambulance New Brunswick has reduced the time to below the national standard.

Piloted at Horizon’s Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital (DECRH) in Fredericton, the project helps to ensure stroke patients receive faster access to CT scans. The average time from arrival to receiving a CT scan for these patients is now 14 minutes, down from an average of 67 minutes prior to the project’s implementation. The response time is now better than the national standard of 15 minutes.

“Ensuring quick access to CT scans is critical for stroke patients,” said Greg Doiron, Vice President Clinical Operations. “When someone is having a stroke, they only have four and a half hours to receive treatment before there is permanent damage. Receiving a CT scan is only the first part in diagnosing stroke, so the significant reduction in time will greatly increase chances of survival and recovery for our patients.”

The new process focuses on efficiencies to improve preparedness. Paramedics identify a potential stroke patient based on symptoms and alert ED staff who can then enact the stroke team and determine the estimated time of patient arrival. This ensures imaging staff are ready to perform a CT scan as quickly as possible.

“We are proud to collaborate with Horizon on such an important project,” said Jean-Pierre Savoie, Ambulance New Brunswick’s VP of Operations. “Every minute counts in an emergency and seeing such important improvements in rapid access to CT scans for our patients has been rewarding and encouraging. We applaud Horizon on the success of this project and look forward to continuing to work together.”

“Previously, when a stroke patient came in, they were triaged as a Level 2 patient according to the Canadian Triage Acuity Scale (CTAS),” said Mr. Doiron. “Stroke patients are Level 2 patients, but now, staff are given specifics so they can properly prep and treat patients more quickly.”

This pilot project will be expanded across Horizon sites in 2024-25.

Horizon has a plan to improve health care in New Brunswick. Our plan is focused on retention and recruitment efforts and improving the overall patient experience by addressing patient flow and access to services. Further details about Horizon’s four priority areas are available at HorizonNB.ca. This initiative also supports the Government of New Brunswick’s provincial health plan, Stabilizing Health Care: An Urgent Call to Action.

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