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The Research Agenda in ICU TelemedicineICU Telemedicine Research: A Statement From the Critical Care Societies Collaborative

Jeremy M. Kahn, MD; Nicholas S. Hill, MD, FCCP; Craig M. Lilly, MD, FCCP; Derek C. Angus, MD, MPH, FCCP; Judith Jacobi, PharmD; Gordon D. Rubenfeld, MD; Jeffrey M. Rothschild, MD, MPH; Anne E. Sales, RN, PhD; Damon C. Scales, MD, PhD; James A. L. Mathers, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

From the Department of Critical Care Medicine (Drs Kahn and Angus), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Division (Dr Hill), Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA; Department of Medicine (Dr Lilly), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA; Clarian Health (Dr Jacobi), Indianapolis, IN; University of Toronto (Drs Rubenfeld and Scales), Toronto, ON, Canada; Harvard Medical School (Dr Rothschild), Boston, MA; Department of Nursing (Dr Sales), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada; and Pulmonary Associates of Richmond (Dr Mathers), Richmond, VA.

Correspondence to: Jeremy M. Kahn, MD, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, Scaife Hall 602-B, 3550 Terrace St, Pittsburgh, PA 15261; e-mail: kahnjm@upmc.edu


Funding/support: This work was supported by the US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [grant R13HS19946].

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians (http://www.chestpubs.org/site/misc/reprints.xhtml).


© 2011 American College of Chest Physicians


Chest. 2011;140(1):230-238. doi:10.1378/chest.11-0610
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ICU telemedicine uses audiovisual conferencing technology to provide critical care from a remote location. Research is needed to best define the optimal use of ICU telemedicine, but efforts are hindered by methodological challenges and the lack of an organized delivery approach. We convened an interdisciplinary working group to develop a research agenda in ICU telemedicine, addressing both methodological and knowledge gaps in the field. To best inform clinical decision-making and health policy, future research should be organized around a conceptual framework that enables consistent descriptions of both the study setting and the telemedicine intervention. The framework should include standardized methods for assessing the preimplementation ICU environment and describing the telemedicine program. This framework will facilitate comparisons across studies and improve generalizability by permitting context-specific interpretation. Research based on this framework should consider the multidisciplinary nature of ICU care and describe the specific program goals. Key topic areas to be addressed include the effect of ICU telemedicine on the structure, process, and outcome of critical care delivery. Ideally, future research should attempt to address causation instead of simply associations and elucidate the mechanism of action in order to determine exactly how ICU telemedicine achieves its effects. ICU telemedicine has significant potential to improve critical care delivery, but high-quality research is needed to best inform its use. We propose an agenda to advance the science of ICU telemedicine and generate research with the greatest potential to improve patient care.

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