Beginning in October 2016, Summit Healthcare Regional Medical Center will implement remote tele-health monitoring of intensive care unit (ICU) patients through the most advanced telemedicine program available.
Highly trained intensivist physicians and critical care specialists will provide an extra layer of care that enhances patient safety 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Summit Healthcare is the first hospital in Northeastern Arizona to offer this tele-ICU program, which is demonstrated to improve patient care.
“This new partnership with Advanced ICU Care, the nation’s largest provider of telemedicine ICU services, is part of our commitment to continually innovate and improve services for our patients and our community,” says Ron McArthur, CEO of Summit Healthcare. “With the addition of around-the-clock telemonitoring by intensivist physicians complementing the level of quality care already provided by our ICU team and physicians, our ICU patients will receive the highest level of medical care available.”
Advanced ICU Care’s team of intensivists and critical care nurses work from centralized operations centers 24 hours a day, complementing the care provided by Summit Healthcare physicians. The program continuously monitors patient vital signs, medications, labs, and the patient’s clinical status. Proactive data management tools identify problems before they become urgent, prompting immediate intervention when necessary. In-room video is used during periods of evaluation or when called on by the nurse. This two-way video enables face-to-face consultations between the bedside staff and the tele-ICU care team to ensure that help is available when needed.
Independent studies demonstrate that 24/7 monitoring by intensivists significantly improves patient outcomes and patient safety in the intensive care unit. However, the current serious shortage of intensivist physicians means that many hospitals cannot provide this extensive coverage within their facilities.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, implementation of a tele-ICU program was associated with reduced adjusted odds of mortality and reduced length of hospital stay, as well as with improvements in best practice adherence and lower rates of preventable complications. Another study published by the New England Healthcare Institute recommends that community hospitals with 10 or more ICU beds adopt tele-ICU care.