PURPOSE: To address the shortage of intensivists, remote telemonitoring units have evolved and provide monitoring by intensivists. This survey aims to evaluate the experience of fellows exposed to this new modality of critical care.
METHODS: An anonymous electronic survey was sent to all VSICU© unit medical directors and four Pulmonary & Critical Care program directors to enlist their fellows.
RESULTS: Sixteen fellows (13 pulmonary & critical care, 1 critical care, 1 trauma, 1 other) responded. All were part of a university based teaching program using VSICU© and from 2 major cities: Houston, Kansas City. Most had experience via their fellowship program as a one month rotation, while three were moonlighters. Research opportunities were available to most(14/16). Most worked with both private and academic physicians. Eleven felt that the rotation was a good educational experience, but only nine felt that it should be a formal rotation. They felt that it improved their knowledge base(9/16), enhanced their communication skills(9/16), and reinforced the importance of professionalism(7/16). Fifteen fellows felt their exposure would be helpful after their training was completed. During the rotation, the majority worked with an intensivist, although four worked alone. In comparison to the ICU, some felt more exhausted(6/16), some felt the same(5/16), and some felt less exhausted(5/16). In the future, most would consider working as a part-time intensivist(14/16), but few would consider working full time(4/16). Most of the respondents would want to work in a place with remote telemonitoring units(14/16), and they all felt it improved patient care. Of note, thirteen fellows felt it served to further protect against medical liability.
CONCLUSION: Rotations in remote telemonitoring units should be included in training curriculum. The experience enhances skills, prepares for the future, and ameliorates communication and professionalism. Fellows feel it improves patient care and will likely be a part of their post-graduate practice.
CLINICAL IMPLICATIONS: Formal training for critical care fellows in remote telemonitoring units may bridge the nationwide shortage of accessible intensivists.
DISCLOSURE: Saadia Faiz, None.