Baptist Health System First to Implement eICU® Program in San Antonio

eGuardian Promotes Safer Environment in Intensive Care Units

SAN ANTONIO, May 18, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Baptist Health System completes final steps to become the first in South Central Texas to implement an eICU® program designed to improve critical care delivery and save lives. "eGuardian" utilizes the eICU®  Program from Philips VISICU, that combines early warning software and remote monitoring to connect off-site critical care physicians and nurses to ICU patients around the clock. Baptist's eGuardian program supplements existing ICU bedside care and works in complement with ICU teams to provide an enhanced level of proactive care. The combination of early warning software and remote monitoring is proven to reduce unnecessary complications, shorten the hospital length of stay, and improve mortality rates.

A total of 134 ICU beds, at five hospitals in San Antonio, are being monitored around the clock by a critical care team from the hospital's eGuardian center, located in The Northeast Baptist Medical Office Building. This team includes an intensivist physician, specially trained in caring for critically ill patients, who monitors ICU patients from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., when the patient's attending physician is typically not present in the hospital. The team also includes experienced critical care nurses and health care assistants, who monitor ICU patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The eGuardian team uses powerful computers to monitor vital signs, medications, X-rays, and other information from bedside monitors. They continuously analyze patient conditions and alert medical staff to potential problems.

"eGuardian is just one more example of our commitment to provide our patients with the most advanced technology and an outstanding level of care," said Graham Reeve, President and Chief Executive Officer of Baptist Health System. "eGuardian will never replace a caring touch or an encouraging smile, but its life-saving applications will reassure families that help is immediately available for their loved ones, no matter the time of day."

Industry studies have shown the involvement of intensivist physicians helps reduce the risk of complications for patients in the ICU. However, there is a nationwide shortage of intensivists. eGuardian addresses this need by making off-site intensivists immediately available when a patient's attending physician is not in the ICU.

"The eGuardian team will complement the high quality care already provided by our ICU physicians and nurses," said Leonard Deal, M.D., medical director of the eGuardian program. "Nationally, the Philips VISICU eICU Program has been proven to significantly improve patient outcomes. We are pleased to offer this extra layer of vigilance, and this advanced level of critical care, to our sickest of patients."

Baptist Health System plans to expand its eGuardian program to surrounding communities, to provide enhanced critical care coverage for ICU patients in other hospitals. Through the eGuardian program, such patients will have access to around the clock, advanced critical care expertise located in the Baptist Health System eGuardian Center, without having to leave their local hospital.

About Baptist

Baptist Health System is a leading provider of health care in San Antonio and South Texas. Baptist Health System includes five acute-care hospitals (Baptist Medical Center, North Central Baptist Hospital, Northeast Baptist Hospital, Southeast Baptist Hospital and St. Luke's Baptist Hospital) which offer 1,753 licensed beds. Baptist Health System has been recognized as a Solucient 100 Top Hospitals®, and each of the five hospitals has earned Accredited Chest Pain Center designation, is certified as a Primary Stroke Center, and has been designated by Medicare as Texas's only Medicare Value-Based Care Centers.  The system also includes Baptist Regional Children's Center, Baptist Cancer Center, HealthLink wellness and fitness center, Baptist M&S Imaging Centers, community health and wellness programs, ambulatory services, rehabilitation services, medical office buildings, San Antonio AirLIFE air medical transport, a teaching center (School of Health Professions), and other health-related services and affiliations.

SOURCE Baptist Health System