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Integration of Real-Time Electronic Health Records and Wireless Technology in a Mobile Stroke Unit

      Abstract

      Background: UCHealth's Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) at University of Colorado Hospital is an ambulance equipped with a computed tomography (CT) scanner and tele-stroke capabilities that began clinical operation in Aurora, Colorado January 2016. As one of the first MSU's in the United States, it was necessary to design unique and dynamic information technology infrastructure. This includes high-speed cellular connectivity, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliance, cloud-based and remote access to electronic medical records (EMR), and reliable and rapid image transfer. Here we describe novel technologies incorporated into the MSU. Technological data-handling aspects of the MSU were reviewed. Functions evaluated include wireless connectivity while in transit, EMR access and manipulation in the field, CT with image transfer from the MSU to the hospital's Picture Archiving Communication System (PACS), and video and audio communication for neurological assessment. Methods/Results: The MSU wireless system was designed with redundancy to avoid dropped signals during data transfer. Two separate Internet Protocol destinations with split-tunnel architecture are assigned, for videoconferencing and for EMR data transfer. Brain images acquired in the ambulance CT scanner are transferred initially to an onboard laptop, then via Citrix Receiver to the hospital-based PACS server where they can be viewed in PACS or EMR by the stroke neurologist, neuroradiologist, and other providers. PACS and Radiology Information System are 2 of the XenApps utilized by CT technologists on board the MSU. Discussion/Conclusions: These technologies will serve as a blueprint for development of similar units elsewhere, and as a framework for improvement in this technology.

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