For hospitals looking to keep constant tabs on the most critical patients--both in-house and at remote rural facilities--electronic intensive care units continue to serve as a viable option.
Such systems, like the one at Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage, allow for round-the-clock monitoring of intensive care patients, and also link to hospitals in remote locations such as Kodiak and Juneau, according to a Kaiser Health News article. The Anchorage-based unit also is connected with a hospital on Oregon's coast.
Last month, a similar system was installed at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose, Mass., the Melrose Free Press reported. The technology was made available thanks to a partnership with Worcester-based UMass Memorial Health Care, and makes Melrose-Wakefield one of 10 facilities in the state to offer eICU services. The hospital uses a software program from Medford-based Hallmark Health System.
Nancy Gaden, assistant vice president for patient care services and chief nursing officer for Hallmark Health, told the Free Press that while such systems can be expensive, hiring a doctor is actually more costly.
"And we'd have to add more than one [physician] if we wanted to have 24-hour care for all our [ICU] patients," she added.
Evangelical Community Hospital in Lewisburg, Pa., also is now linked to an eICU system. Last month, the hospital connected with the eICU unit at Danville, Pa.-based Geisinger Health System, according to The Daily Item. The system cost Geisinger roughly $7 million, the newspaper reported.
And in California, the University of California-San Diego Medical Center recently teamed with nearby Tri-City Medical Center to bring telehealth into the hospital's neo-natal ICU unit.