Hawaii volunteers are state stroke champions

Updated:Dec 2,2014

Kazuma Nakagawa, M.D., and Matthew A. Koenig, M.D., are champions for the most appropriate and up-to-date stroke treatment guidelines in the state of Hawaii. Both have advanced our Get With The Guidelines® – Stroke module at The Queen’s Medical Center Neuroscience Institute, while Dr. Koenig serves on the Hawaii State Stroke Task Force and Dr. Nakagawa serves on our Hawaii Division Board of Directors.
Hawaii QSI volunteers
The stroke task force, which was formed by a mandate in a State Resolution championed by the AHA, was convened by the Hawaii Department of Health to create a forum in which hospitals, emergency medical services (EMS), government, and other stakeholders can work together to improve outcomes for patients with stroke. Dr. Koenig explains, “The task force determines the current practices in stroke care statewide, identifies opportunities for improvement in current stroke care, communication between hospitals and EMS and encourages hospitals to work together to provide the best possible stroke care across the state.”

Dr. Nakagawa adds, “It is a critical step forward to efficiently streamline acute stroke care throughout the state, allowing all people in Hawaii to receive evidence-based, effective stroke treatment in a timely fashion. Stroke can be debilitating not only to the patient but to their entire ohana (family). Unfortunately, the overall stroke burden in our community continues to increase.”

GWTG-Stroke also serves as an institutional stroke database where data-based clinical research can be conducted to identify high risk patients and clinical areas of improvement. Dr. Nakagawa points out, “At The Queen's Medical Center we were able to publish the stroke disparities seen among Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders in a peer-reviewed journal. With a seed grant from AHA, our research used the GWTG database and showed that these groups have both ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes a decade younger compared to whites and Asians.”

Dr. Koenig provides another example – “We recently used the GWTG-Stroke database to review the impact of having specially trained nurse practitioners as first responders for acute stroke code 24/7. After starting the nurse practitioner-based model, we cut nearly 20 minutes off the tPA (clot buster) treatment time for acute stroke patients. This dramatically reduced the degree of disability patients had at hospital discharge.”

Citing his reasons for being involved as a volunteer, Dr. Koenig says, “The AHA/ASA has a very strong history of working with providers, hospitals, government and the public to improve stroke systems of care over the last decade. Because of these efforts, a very solid, evidence-based template exists for improving stroke care in Hawaii.”