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Emory Partners with Australian University to Deliver 24/7 eICU Care

November 16, 2016
by Heather Landi
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A three-way partnership using remote monitoring is bringing round-the-clock eICU care to patients at Emory Healthcare in Atlanta, delivered by critical care physicians based in Sydney, Australia. The pilot program aims to improve the outcomes of high-risk patients in greatest need of constant observation.

Emory Healthcare critical care physicians and nurses based onsite at Macquarie University’s MQ Health in Sydney will use Philips’ remote intensive care unit (eICU) technology to provide monitoring. Combining daytime critical care coverage in Atlanta with night-time coverage from Sydney provides focused, 24-hour-a-day management of ICU patients by critical care specialists, potentially decreasing the risk of complications, shortening patients’ length of stay and saving lives.

MQ Health is the first university-led integrated health campus in Australia, bringing together research and clinical care.

The creative vision to turn “night into day” was developed by Timothy Buchman, M.D., founding director of the Emory Critical Care Center, and Cheryl Hiddleson, M.S.N., R.N., director of the Emory eICU Center.

According to a press release, by using providers in a complementary time zone, in this case, Sydney, to cover the Atlanta eICU night shift, it reverses two of the largest drawbacks of critical care night staffing: a shortage of senior clinicians willing to cover night shifts, and the toll that working nights takes on caretakers and their attention levels.

“Thanks to our eICU program we can continuously monitor Atlanta-based patients from MQ Health in Sydney and support the bedside team by recognizing adverse physiology, making critical diagnoses and intervening before those issues become significant problems,” Buchman, who is chief of critical care service at Emory Healthcare, said in a statement.

“In Australia, these types of technologies also have far-reaching potential to support care of rural and remote patients,” he said. “Currently the optimal medical treatment there, in a stressful setting such as the ICU, can be thousands of miles away. The introduction of electronically-delivered specialist care has the potential to standardize the quality of care between the hospital and the countryside.”

The Emory project leaders are currently tracking sleep cycles, mood changes, clinician stress as measured by cortisol levels, and overall quality of life, according to Hiddleson in a press release. They are testing the efficiency of Emory clinicians practicing in Australia as well as the program’s impact on patient well-being. Future plans include expanding intramural and outreach coverage, and possibly extending the international options for Emory clinicians working in the eICU.


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