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ICU-Telemedicine May Reduce Death

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1/29/2021

Intensive care unit (ICU) patients who receive services via telemedicine are less likely to die and more likely to leave the hospital sooner compared with those receiving traditional ICU care, suggests a large study being presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s 50th Critical Care Congress.

Intensive care unit (ICU) patients who receive services via telemedicine are less likely to die and more likely to leave the hospital sooner compared with those receiving traditional ICU care, suggests a large study being presented at the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s 50th Critical Care Congress.
 
“In an ideal world, patients would have an intensivist at the bedside 24/7, but the reality is that even if we had all of the money in the world, we don’t have enough trained professionals to do the job,” said Chiedozie I. Udeh MD, MHEcon, MBA, lead author of the study and an intensivist at Cleveland Clinic Foundation. “Telemedicine offers an excellent means for providing that level of care, allowing health issues to be discovered earlier and care moved along more quickly so that recovery can be as smooth and swift as possible.”
 
The study included 153,987 patients who received ICU care at one of nine Cleveland Clinic hospitals between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2019. Overall, 108,482 (70%) received ICU telemedicine care during hours when an intensivist was not on site. Those who received telemedicine care were about 18% less likely to die and spent 1.6 fewer days in the ICU and 2.1 fewer days in the hospital. Cleveland Clinic began gradually deploying ICU telemedicine in 2014. The study also found that telemedicine patients who were admitted on a weekend were no more likely to die than those who were admitted on a weekday.
 
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the value of ICU-telemedicine, with clinicians needing to give intensive care to a large influx in patients in a short amount of time. “The demand for critical care has been growing as the population ages and COVID-19 has exacerbated that need,” said Dr. Udeh. “Although this study ended before the COVID-19 pandemic, the value of ICU telemedicine has become even more clear during the pandemic, including providing the ability to extend care when the ICU reaches capacity and staff levels are stretched.”

These resources can help educate you on telemedicine in the pandemic and beyond.


 
Dr. Udeh estimates 15% to 20% of U.S. hospitals offer ICU telemedicine, which can be provided from a command center elsewhere in the hospital system, even many states away. In some cases, ICU telemedicine is provided by an independent company or by a different hospital system. ICU telemedicine can help preserve the workforce, says Dr. Udeh. One tele-intensivist working overnight can cover several ICUs, allowing the daytime intensivist to get more uninterrupted sleep, decreasing the likelihood of clinician burnout.


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Posted: 1/29/2021 | 0 comments


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