Combining daytime coverage in Atlanta with night-time coverage from Sydney provides around-the-clock remote management of intensive care unit (ICU) patients by critical care specialists, when adverse events are most likely to occur , decreasing the risk of complications, shortening patients’ length of stay and saving lives .
Critical care units such as ICUs are high-tech units to care for patients with severe and potentially life threatening conditions that require constant and close monitoring. Philips’ eICU program is a comprehensive program that enables health care professionals from a centralized eICU center to provide around-the-clock care for critically ill patients. A study that compared patients receiving usual ICU care with patients who received their ICU care from a hospital that utilized the eICU program, showed that the latter were 26% more likely to survive the ICU and discharged from the ICU 20% faster .
“We are operating in a time when connected health solutions can truly make a difference in a patient’s experience,” said Kevin Barrow, Managing Director Philips Australia and New Zealand. “We know that funding for critical care and critical access is not growing despite increases in demand driven by population growth. This program uses a proactive and continuous care model that enable the right care to be delivered remotely at the right time.”
Kevin Barrow added: “We aim to transform the delivery of care to address growing clinician shortages while improving patient outcomes. I am confident that the application of these kinds of solutions will shape the future of healthcare. If we are able to do this across continents we can certainly replicate it locally, connecting Australian clinicians with patients in need across regional and remote areas.”
The solution allows for near real-time remote monitoring and early intervention via advance audio-visual technology and algorithms that can predict deteriorations in health, giving clinicians the ability to communicate with local caregivers via live video link, continuously monitor patient health, and advise on the best course of treatment from wherever they are located.
This innovation means hospitals dealing with intensive care physician and nurse shortages can provide patients with 24/7 clinical expertise and additional, proactive support to the in-hospital care team. Bringing critical care closer to the patient, remote monitoring removes the hurdle of geography and reduces the burden of transporting patients. This will help healthcare providers avoid transport associated costs, while patients or their families won’t have the stress of transferring to higher level critical care centers.
“Thanks to our eICU program we can continuously monitor Atlanta-based patients from MQ Health in Sydney and support the bedside team by recognising adverse physiology, making critical diagnoses and intervening before those issues become significant problems,” said Dr Timothy Buchman, Chief, Critical Care Service, Emory Healthcare. “In Australia, these types of technologies also have far-reaching potential to support care of rural and remote patients. Currently the optimal medical treatment, 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 standardise the quality of care between the CBD and the countryside.”
“Clinicians collaborating with industry on innovative technological advances that lead to improvements in patient care is the vision of Macquarie University and MQ Health,” said Professor Michael Parr, Clinical Program Head, Critical Care and Anaesthetics at MQ Health.
“This partnership will provide the opportunity to build on North American experience and improve intensive care outcomes for rural and remote Australia, and showing what is achievable through global collaboration.”
 Gershengorn H.B. 2016. Nighttime Extubations Are Associated With Worse Outcomes For U.S. Intensive Care Unit Patients. Outstanding Epidemiology and Health Services Research in Critical Care. Available online: http://www.atsjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1164/ajrccm-conference.2016.193.1_MeetingAbstracts.A6150. Date accessed: September 2016.
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 A Multicenter Study of ICU Telemedicine Reengineering of Adult Critical Care, Chest Journal, March 2014. Available online: http://journal.publications.chestnet.org/article.aspx?articleid=1788059&resultClick=1. Date accessed: September 2016.