Rockford Memorial launches critical care tele-health monitoring program

Marcia Donaldson, R.N., clinical nurse coordinator, Rockford Memorial Hospital, demonstrates Jan. 31 new state-of-the-art technology that enables physicians in remote locations to provide a “second set of eyes” to observe and evaluate critically-ill patients around the clock. (Photo provided)

Online Staff Report

Rockford Memorial Hospital (RMH) recently launched the most advanced telemedicine program available in hospital critical care units today, becoming the first local hospital to launch this type of program.

RMH partnered with Advanced ICU Care, the nation’s largest independent tele-ICU provider, to deliver monitoring by intensivist physicians and critical care specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system went “live” Jan. 10. The hospital serves about 1,800 critical care patients each year.

Critical care intensivist physicians and other specialist physicians and nurses at the hospital direct the care of patients in the RMH critical care units. They work with intensivists from Advanced ICU Care who serve as an extra expert set of eyes and use state-of-the-art technology in a centralized monitoring center to observe and evaluate critically ill patients around the clock.

The Advanced ICU Care team is connected with each patient 24/7 via a dashboard of vital signs; physiological data; medications; and lab results. Automated smart alerts identify problems before they become urgent, prompting immediate intervention. Real-time video, sophisticated enough to look at patient pupils, connects Advanced ICU Care intensivists to patients. The connection is secure to protect patient privacy; the camera is only activated during clinical team interactions; and there is no video recording.

Independent studies demonstrate this 24/7 intensivist monitoring significantly improves patient outcomes and patient safety in the critical care unit. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association demonstrates how the implementation of a tele-ICU intervention was associated with reduced adjusted odds of mortality and reduced hospital length of stay, as well as with changes 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.

Posted Feb. 9, 2012

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