Telemedicine is one way technology in healthcare is changing how doctors and nurses care for their patients, especially in the ICU. Implementing telehealth into critical care units allows for an advanced and unprecedented level of patient monitoring by an external team. Overall, this practice is advancing patient care for the better.
Also known as eICUs, these advanced systems according to U.S. News, “use video cameras, microphones, alarms and other monitoring tools to keep an eye on the sickest of patients, no matter where they are in the country.” The external team monitoring patients 24/7 includes trailed critical care nurses and intensivists. This gives families greater peace of mind and reduces the burden on the in-house team. External teams can pick up on subtle changes in vital signs and patient stability before they evolve into larger issues. Once the external team detects a problem, they can notify the in-house staff instantly. This can help the in house team prioritize to-the-minute care, rather than focusing on continuous check ins. This new technology can keep doctors and nurses on-top of rapid changes in patient condition, potentially saving lives.
Tele-ICU also makes consultations with doctors all over the country a lot easier. Healthcare IT News said that “Telehealth can also be used for remote consultations from expert practitioners across the country to improve patient outcomes.” Additionally, a report in the American Journal of Critical Care revealed that nurses saw an improvement in productivity and collaboration on the ICU floor thanks to eICU.
Telehealth in the ICU is a revolutionary tool that can help doctors and nurses provide the best quality care to patients. Having a second set of eyes makes addressing patient issues before they get out of hand easier. EICU also gives families assurance that the highest level of care is provided to their family member. There are some challenges of integrating it into ICUs across the country, but, as technology advances so will the practice.
One healthcare facility that has successfully integrated eICU is UMass Memorial Medical center. To learn more about how they’ve integrated Telehealth into the ICU, visit their website.