Trend: eICUs manage critical patients remotely
With 20 percent more ICU beds in place nationwide now than there were 10 years ago, it's been difficult to find enough skilled doctors to monitor them. One solution which is emerging is a new, centralized care monitoring system, dubbed an "eICU," one physician can monitor critical indicators on patients in multiple hospitals while seated at one remote location.
One example can be found at UMass Memorial Health Care, where physicians at its eICU monitor care for 109 patients physically located within eight ICUs at three hospitals. In setting up such a system, which cost about $8 million to establish, UMass Memorial has become one of an estimated 40 health systems to try this approach.
It's still not clear how outcomes for ICU telemonitoring compare to the results when patients are seen round the clock by on-site physicians. However, some hospitals including UMass and Virginia-based Sentara Healthcare, have seen substantial care improvements using eICUs. Now, UMass has begun recruiting hospitals from outside its network to hook up to the eICU, a service for which they'd pay a fee.
To find out more about the eICU:
- read this piece from The Boston Globe
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