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Technology Gives Cherokee Stroke Victims Access, Quicker Treatment

Northside Hospital-Cherokee is the first in North Georgia to use the wireless robot, spokeswoman Katherine Watson said today.

Before today, had to transfer severe stroke patients to other facilities for treatment.

Thanks to a new, wireless robot that allows physicians from any location to interact with patients and staff in the hospital's emergency department, more patients will be able to receive immediate care without leaving the Canton campus.

"This is the only such robot north of Atlanta and just the second in Georgia," hospital spokeswoman Katherine Watson said.

According to Watson, this is how the robot works:

Within moments of a consultation request, an Atlanta neurologist can connect to the robot in Canton via computer workstation, drive it to the nurse’s station or patient’s room, consult with on-site staff, review the patient’s medical records, examine and talk directly to patients, and give orders and further instructions.

"The physician has full control of the robot and its capabilities," she said. "An LCD screen atop the 5-foot-tall robot allows patients, family and staff to see the physician’s face in real time."

Before Northside rolled out the new technology, known as Mobile Access Consultation Services (M.A.C.S.), specialists might have been preoccupied and unable to respond with the same speed.

"In stroke care," Northside neurologist Keith Sanders said, "time lost is brain lost. Stroke treatments must be started within three hours after patients develop symptoms."

"M.A.C.S.," Watson said, "allows Northside to have neurology coverage 24/7, 365 days a year."

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