Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More new on ICU Telemedicine

I just read an article on ICU telemedicine in the recent issue of AMA news,
AMA News: Big hospitals adding remote monitoring for ICU patients

The article describes the e-ICU implementation at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center. VISCU, an ICU telemedicine systems company that I described in an earlier post, is the apparently the only vendor selling such systems. The article states that more than 200 hospitals use it to monitor 250,000 patients a year.

Some of the drivers for ICU telemedicine is the growing physician shortage and new patient safety initiates. I can certainly can testify to the fact that with the increased emphasis on patient safety, and the new medicare policy for "no payment for medical errors", we will see the growth of telemedince and other advanced monitoring technologies.

Some of the benefits seen from introducing ICU telemedicine at the UMASS Memorial Medical center were:
1- decline of pneumonia rates
2- decrease in deaths by 9%
3-decrease in length of stay
4- decrease in ventilator-associated pneumonia to 1/4th the national average.

These results are impressive. If they also translate to cost savings or increased patient volume, more hospitals and other healthcare facilities will be incentivized to further adopt telemedicine services.

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