NEHI Report: Tele-ICU Poised for Major Growth | Healthcare Informatics Magazine | Health IT | Information Technology Skip to content Skip to navigation

NEHI Report: Tele-ICU Poised for Major Growth

November 18, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
| Reprints

The use of telemedicine in intensive care units (ICUs) is on the threshold of major change, with emerging best practices providing valuable precedents and guidelines for adopting tele-ICU care more broadly around the country, according to a new report by the national health policy institute, NEHI.

ICUs treat six million of the sickest and oldest patients every year, and the choices about how to manage ICUs carry high stakes: ICUs have both the highest mortality and the highest costs in healthcare, accounting for 4.1 percent of the nation’s $2.6 trillion in annual healthcare spending, or nearly $107 billion per year.

Many of the recent models of tele-ICU care reflect variations in practices that have the potential to make the technology more scalable and accessible in a variety of new settings including county, public, rural and critical access hospitals, according to the NEHI report, “Emerging Best Practices for Tele-ICU Care Nationally.” In the past few years, NEHI said, new product and provider options have emerged, as well as new efficiencies, which together are likely to drive broader adoption of these networks of audio-visual communication for monitoring ICU patients remotely.

NEHI identified six best practices that provide valuable data and experience for successfully implementing tele-ICUs more widely around the country:

• Establish pre-coverage benchmarks prior to tele-ICU implementation. By gathering baseline data six months before tele-ICU initiation, as John Muir Health did in California, executives can better assess where improvements have been achieved post tele-ICU and where more implementation work is needed.

• Expand coverage to hospitals unaffiliated with the monitoring center.  A number of monitoring centers, including the University of Wisconsin Health and Christiana Care Health System, have used creative practices to support the care directed by clinicians in a different health system.

• Rotate clinicians through bedside and monitoring center shifts. This practice of rotating clinicians through both ICUs and the support centers limits opportunities for "us versus them" friction among staff, improves their clinical skills and broadens their perspectives.

• Cover critical access and rural hospitals. Tele-ICUs offer a potential solution to the lack of coverage for public and safety-net hospitals around the country, as Avera Health and Maine Medical Center have proven.

• Extend coverage outside of the ICU through wired beds and mobile carts. Using the tele-ICU monitoring center to extend coverage to seriously ill patients in other departments of the hospital and to post-discharge settings is an approach being used around the country to support both small, isolated hospitals and crowded urban hospitals.

• Make a business of "renting" tele-ICU coverage to hospital clients. Several vendors have pioneered using tele-ICU coverage as a contract service to third party hospitals and medical centers.

"The use of tele-ICU care is entering a second phase of adoption," NEHI president Wendy Everett said in a statement. “And as more tele-ICUs are implemented, the need for best practices to guide this expansion is critical."

Get the latest information on Health IT and attend other valuable sessions at this two-day Summit providing healthcare leaders with educational content, insightful debate and dialogue on the future of healthcare and technology.

Learn More

Topics

News

Study: EHRs Tied with Lower Hospital Mortality, But Only After Systems Have Matured

Over the past decade, there has been significant national investment in electronic health record (EHR) systems at U.S. hospitals, which was expected to result in improved quality and efficiency of care. However, evidence linking EHR adoption to better care is mixed, according to medical researchers.

Nursing Notes Can Help Predict ICU Survival, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario have found that sentiments in healthcare providers’ nursing notes can be good indicators of whether intensive care unit (ICU) patients will survive.

Health Catalyst Completes Acquisition of HIE Technology Company Medicity

Salt Lake City-based Health Catalyst, a data analytics company, has completed its acquisition of Medicity, a developer of health information exchange (HIE) technology, and the deal adds data exchange capabilities to Health Catalyst’s data, analytics and decision support solutions.

Advocate Aurora Health, Foxconn Plan Employee Wellness, “Smart City,” and Precision Medicine Collaboration

Wisconsin-based Advocate Aurora Health is partnering with Foxconn Health Technology Business Group, a Taiwanese company, to develop new technology-driven healthcare services and tools.

Healthcare Data Breach Costs Remain Highest at $408 Per Record

The cost of a data breach for healthcare organizations continues to rise, from $380 per record last year to $408 per record this year, as the healthcare industry also continues to incur the highest cost for data breaches compared to any other industry, according to a new study from IBM Security and the Ponemon Institute.

Morris Leaves ONC to Lead VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization

Genevieve Morris, who has been detailed to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from her position as the principal deputy national coordinator for the Department of Health and Human Services, will move over full time to lead the newly establishment VA Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.