Acute Stroke Telemedicine: Utility, Training and Evaluation Project (ASTUTE)

Stroke can strike at any time, day or night. An expert consultant assessment is needed to ensure that people are diagnosed and treated correctly. However, if the patient comes to hospital ‘out of hours’, there may not be a specialist consultant on call locally.

The TELESTROKE project can link a patient with suspected stroke at any of the major hospitals in Lancashire and Cumbria to one of a team of highly experienced stroke consultants via a live video link. The consultant can see the patient and vice versa, can discuss the problem with the staff in the A+E department, and can also see brain scan results. This means that the patient can get an expert diagnosis very quickly, without having to travel, and without wasting precious time. This can save lives and prevent stroke disability. Some parts of the country have similar systems in operation already.

This is a very new and exciting way of working, but it is vital that we get it right-for patients, families and staff. The ASTUTE project is evaluating the introduction of Telestroke.


ASTUTE aims to develop and test an internet based Standardised Telemedicine Toolkit (STT) which includes a training package for health staff, standardised assessments and a checklist to help doctors and nurses to use Telestroke.

The STT will be based on information from previous research, the views of people (staff, patients and carers) who have experienced Telestroke elsewhere, and people who will experience Telestroke as part of this study.

This is the first study of its kind within the NHS. We will test the STT to see if it helps more people to have an immediate stroke-specialist assessment. If it is successful, the training package will be used in similar NHS settings in the future.


The ASTUTE project will help to ensure that this new technology is introduced in a way that meets the needs of patients, and helps staff to deliver better care.

Telestroke will enable all patients to have access 24/7 to the expert diagnosis and treatment they need in a stroke emergency, wherever they are in Lancashire and Cumbria. ASTUTE will help us to ensure this is done safely and efficiently, and that patients and families are confident in this new way of working.

The Standardised Telemedicine Toolkit for Stroke can be accessed by going to: ASTUTE Website




National Institute for Health Research- Research for Patient Benefit.

Further information

For further information about the project, please contact Liz Lightbody.

Tel. +44 (0)1772 893648

Project Staff

  • Liz Lightbody
  • Caroline Watkins
  • Michael Leathley
  • Jane Fitzgerald
  • Joanne McAdam
  • Jo Gibson
  • Alison McLoughlin