While nearly 10 percent of U.S. hospital intensive care unit (ICU) beds use eICUs, there has never been a systematic evaluation of how it affects quality and costs, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC, Washington, D.C.)
Other key study findings are as follows:
- Hospitals adopting eICUs generally were motivated by potential to improve clinical quality and patient safety rather than expectations of cost savings
- Among hospitals not adopting eICUs, there was agreement that the limited potential benefits did not justify significant upfront and ongoing operating costs
- Despite the lack of specific payment or other incentives, most hospitals in the study — both with and without eICUs — were working to improve ICU performance
- In all but one of the five eICU hospitals, poor interoperability between the eICU software and the hospitals’ enterprise-wide information technology systems created barriers to using the full extent of eICU’s advanced monitoring and outcome analysis features.
The Center for Studying Health System Change is a nonpartisan policy research organization committed to providing timely research on the nation’s changing health system to help inform policy makers and contribute to better health care policy.
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