Advocates of remote ICUs believe that they could help avert tens of thousands of deaths each year. Studies by the Leapfrog Group, a consortium of major employers and other purchasers, suggest that in ICUs run by intensivists, the death rate drops by 40 percent.
That is the reason why putting ICUs under intensivists’ management is a key Leapfrog goal. Across the country, intensivists are in short supply, meeting only about one eighth of the need. Even if more of these specialists were available, small hospitals have difficulty affording them.
PMA physicians have the most experience in remote ICU monitoring and intervention in community hospitals of any group in the country. PMA intensivists have provided the clinical expertise needed to make use of the tools of technology since January of 2003, when a local healthcare system implemented VISICU’s eICU®. The local hub, staffed by PMA intensivists, now provides care for up to 170 patients in ten hospitals.
Tele-ICU technology provides a vehicle for a uniform approach to medical management of patients in the ICU or ED patients destined for the ICU. Implementation of a Tele-ICU solution has decreased disparities in the access to Critical Care specialists by allowing a shrinking national pool of intensivists to monitor and treat a greater number of hospitalized patients. This disparity exists not just in underserved hospitals or hospitals where there are no Critical Care specialists, but also from day to night in hospitals not currently compliant with Leapfrog standards.
The Tele-ICU also promotes the delivery of standardized approaches for assessing and treating life threatening disease processes such as sepsis, and life altering complications such as delirium and ICU-acquired weakness; and improve not just immediate morbidity and mortality, but improve quality of life in the longer term.