Compiling new state stroke registry

November 1, 2008

JOHNSON CITY – Vital information on stroke treatment in Tennessee will soon be available in a new stroke registry being compiled by East Tennessee State University’s College of Public Health.

This new initiative is part of the Tennessee Stroke Registry Act of 2008, which was recently signed into law.  Through this legislation, state hospitals will be encouraged to provide detailed data during the next year on the incidence of strokes, mortality rates, and treatment process.

“There are specific questions that we need answered in order to make improvements and recommendations that will ultimately affect the outcomes for stroke victims,” said Dr. Patricia Vanhook, assistant professor of professional roles and mental health nursing in ETSU’s College of Nursing.

Vanhook partnered with the American Heart Association and chairs the Stroke Registry Sub-Committee of the Tennessee Stroke Systems of Care Task Force that advocated for this new registry.

“For example, we want to know if patients are calling EMS when they first experience symptoms, and how long it takes before they arrive in the emergency room.  We also want to understand the treatment processes that occur once that patient arrives, as well as what recommendations are made upon discharge.”

Dr. Tim Aldrich, associate professor of public health, will be compiling the data for an annual report.  Vanhook said the report will help the stroke registry committee determine those aspects of the process that need to be addressed.

“The information we need is very specific,” Aldrich added.  “Some hospitals already have a reliable mechanism in place for obtaining this information, but, for those who don’t, ETSU has developed a template that will be made available.”

Organizers are now working with hospitals across the state to garner support for this new initiative. An interim report is scheduled for completion by December.