A research study published in STROKE, the American Heart Association’s national journal, reports that the cost of stroke care has been reduced and certain stroke patients given a unique opportunity as a result of novel actions taken by the Houston based SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC).

“SETRAC has united 26 area hospitals to embrace best practices in the treatment of ischemic strokes (the most frequent type of stroke, caused by a blood clot). The results of their focus have led to the prompt administration of the clot busting drug ‘tPA’ across all nine counties”, states Mr. Pile. He also emphasized that “the percentage of ischemic stroke patients receiving the medication upon arrival in our hospital emergency rooms exceeds national benchmarks”. Dr. Sean Savitz adds that “the study shows that in addition to saving lives and minimizing disabilities, the work of this Regional Advisory Council resulted in savings in excess of $3.6m over a four-quarter period”.

The accomplishment of SETRAC earned national attention and may now lead to similar coalition building approaches to stroke care nationwide. Mr. Pile concludes by stating “we are optimistic that state leaders can now be even more comfortable funding the work of regional advisory councils since we produce an exponentially high rate of return on their investment”. The research study may be among the first to quantify the value of actions to expedite care for ischemic stroke patients on a regional basis. The study over four quarters included 14,675 ischemic stroke patients across the nine-county area. Dr. Savitz plans a follow-up study since “our results have continued to improve since the study period”.

The article, titled “Regional Intervention of Stroke Care to Increase Thrombolytic Therapy for Acute Ischemic Stroke – The Southeast Texas Experience”, can be viewed at www.ahajournals.org.