SDW news brief: Telemedicine in ICUs may trim critical care costs

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 17, 2010

Tele-ICU technology could save 350 additional lives and more than $122 million annually if broadly and effectively implemented across Massachusetts, according to a study from the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) and the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative (MTC).

"Critical Care, Critical Choices: The Case for Tele-ICUs in Intensive Care" analyzed data collected from a demonstration project at UMass Memorial Medical Center and two community hospitals in Massachusetts. NEHI and MTC studied tele-ICU technology because of its potential to address the supply-and-demand problem plaguing critical care. It comes down to the "collision of two strong trends," according to the report.

The first is increased demand, attributable to the aging population. The second is dwindling supply: fewer critical care physicians (or intensivists). Tele-ICU, a telemedicine technology, provides a potential solution: It allows physicians and nurses who specialize in critical care to monitor a higher volume of ICU patients in multiple, distant locations from a centralized command center.

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Source: HealthLeaders Media

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