Kenneth Kalassian (Special photo)
ALBANY – In September, the adult intensive care units at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital’s main campus were equipped with tele-ICU services by partnering with Advanced ICU Care, the nation’s largest provider of tele-ICU services.
Beginning Tuesday, Phoebe’s north campus will implement these services in its intensive care unit as well. These services will augment patient safety and quality of care in the department, as tele-ICU technology provides an additional layer of care.
“ICU telemedicine complements the care of Phoebe Putney staff physicians by ensuring that their treatment plans are carried out, that caregivers follow best practices, and by prompting staff to respond to adverse changes in a patient’s condition when they are not at the bedside,” said Dr. Kenneth Kalassian, medical director of critical care. “It provides an important safety net to our patients 24 hours a day.”
Throughout the past few months, a team of IS analysts, engineers, technicians, ICU directors and managers, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and hospital administrators have been working to ensure that the technology is at full functionality. The complex implementation process, a $527,307 investment into the North Campus, required wiring and installing cameras and monitors in each ICU room and making sure that all systems are compatible for communication of the patient’s lab, radiology and pharmacy information, as well as vital signs and cardiac monitoring, between the room and the AICU physician.
Patient benefits of this service include:
— Faster weaning from ventilator support,
— Better compliance with ventilator ‘bundles,’
— Shorter length of stay, and reduced likelihood of ICU-related complications and mortality.
The Advanced ICU Care intensivist-led team operates from a centralized location that is electronically connected to Phoebe’s ICU patients, allowing Advanced ICU Care to continuously monitor patient vital signs, medications, labs, trends in patients’ clinical status, and outcomes of care.
A two-way video camera in each critical care patient room enables face-to-face consultation between the bedside and the Advanced ICU Care teams. Because patient privacy is a priority, cameras are turned away from the patient and microphones are turned off when not in use. They do not record any sounds or footage. Audio and video equipment is activated only when needed. The sound of a doorbell lets patients and family members know when the tele-intensivist or critical care nurse “enters” the room, similar to when a bedside physician or nurse enters the room.