Intensive care units (ICUs) are turning to technology to help them address numerous issues including staffing shortages, budget shortfalls, and patient outcomes. No, they’re not investing in robots, but they are choosing to equip ICUs with telemedicine capabilities that allow for around-the-clock patient monitoring and instant access to qualified ICU nurses and physicians. These eICU solutions are finding their way into ICUs across the nation and may soon be in an ICU near you.
Even before the pandemic hit, ICUs were suffering from staffing shortages, especially in rural hospitals where it’s already difficult to recruit physicians and nurses. Both rural and urban hospitals struggle with overnight staffing, which can adversely affect ICU patient outcomes because they may have to wait until the day shift comes on the clock before getting a critical test or medication.
TeleICU technology offers a solution to these staffing shortages by providing immediate access to board certified ICU physicians and nurses through a central monitoring facility. No longer does a hospital have to worry about in-person ICU coverage and if a patient needs to be seen by a doctor, one can be at the patient’s bedside — virtually — in minutes. While this may seem odd at first, it’s one of the best ways to ensure a patient gets what they need, when they need it, even in times of unprecedented understaffing.
Not every hospital can afford to have multiple ICU physicians on staff, particularly smaller facilities that are independent of a major hospital system. Instead of hiring full-time ICU doctors, hospitals with strict budgets can contract with an eICU provider to monitor their ICU at all times of the day or night and deliver quality care to patients at the time that care is needed.
It is significantly less expensive to use teleICU services than it is to hire full-time physicians and the care the patients get from virtual doctors is equal to in-person care. In fact, patient outcomes can actually improve with telehealth because patients don’t have to wait for an on-call doctor to arrive before care decisions can be made. Experienced ICU physicians will be able to make those decisions at the point they’re needed.
Another benefit of teleICU services is that hospitals are able to collect valuable data that pinpoints weaknesses in their processes, allowing them to implement improvements that can directly affect patient outcomes. This data is all stored in a single location and can be accessed by all physicians and nurses through the eICU database, whether they’re in-person or virtual. Additionally, patients’ ehealth records are also accessible, which means that doctors have all pertinent information before making care decisions. Having a centralized data collection process ensures that all employees involved in a patient’s care have access to the same data, even if a doctor goes on vacation or a new nurse joins the staff.
Hospitals Near You: Credihealth.
Technology is changing the way ICU patients receive care for the better. Whether it’s improving patient outcomes or easing budget restraints, eICU solutions are already revolutionizing ICUs everywhere.
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