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Mayo Clinic's Remote Monitoring System Targets Critically Ill Patients

September 9, 2013
by Rajiv Leventhal
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A new 24/7 remote monitoring system from the Mayo Clinic will improve care and shorten hospital stays for critically ill patients, according to Mayo officials in a recent announcement. The Enhanced Critical Care program will offer monitoring of the sickest patients at six Mayo Clinic Health System hospitals.

Patients will continue to receive care from the local care team, but physicians and nurses in an operations center in Rochester, Minn. will monitor patients' vital signs and other health data on a computerized system able to detect subtle changes in a patient's condition. High definition video cameras and computer screens will allow operations center staff to communicate with patients, their families, and the care team.

Enhanced Critical Care is available at Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Austin, Albert Lea, Fairmont and Mankato, Minn.; and Eau Claire and La Crosse, Wis. "It's like having an extra set of eyes on every patient," Dany Abou Abdallah, M.D., a pulmonologist and director of the critical care unit in Eau Claire, said in a statement. "With this program, operations center nurses and physicians continuously review patients' vital signs and other data. The minute they notice a potential problem, they can alert the local care team."Remote monitoring systems are in place at about 10 percent of all intensive care unit beds in the U.S. A University of Massachusetts study published in the May 16, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 20 percent reduction in intensive care deaths and a 32 percent reduction in intensive care unit stays when critical care units used such a system.

And a recent study from Spyglass Consulting Group found that the majority of ACOs that responded to a survey from Spyglass Consulting Group said they are using remote patient monitoring technology as an early symptom management tool to remotely monitor and manage high-risk chronically ill patients.

Additionally, according to a research report from the New York City-based Kalorama Information in March, sales of advanced remote patient monitoring devices have risen 20 percent from the year before. The market for the devices, which process patient data and link them to an electronic medical record (EMR), has constantly ticked up, going from $4 billion in 2007 to $10.6 billion in 2012.

"This is a more proactive way to take care of patients," Sean Caples, D.O., a critical care specialist in Rochester and program medical director, said in a statement. "The way we're delivering care is changing, but our end goal remains the same: providing the best care possible to patients. We're taking advantage of new technology to help us do that."

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