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Correspondence |

Telemedicine Programs in ICUs Are Proven to Drive Hospitals’ Clinical, Financial, and Operational SuccessTelemedicine-ICUs Drive Hospital Success FREE TO VIEW

Mary Jo Gorman, MD
Author and Funding Information

From Advanced ICU Care.

Correspondence to: Mary Jo Gorman, MD, Advanced ICU Care, Ste 210, 999 Executive Parkway, St. Louis, MO 63141; e-mail: mjgorman@icumedicine.com


Financial/nonfinancial disclosures: The author has reported to CHEST the following conflicts of interest: Dr Gorman is an employee of Advanced ICU Care, which has an interest in the topic of telemedicine.

Reproduction of this article is prohibited without written permission from the American College of Chest Physicians. See online for more details.


Chest. 2013;143(4):1184. doi:10.1378/chest.12-2503
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To the Editor:

I read the article by Kumar et al1 in a recent issue of CHEST (January 2013) with great interest. Telemedicine programs in ICUs (tele-ICUs) have a proven track record in producing clinical, operational, and financial results. Research by the New England Health Institute,2 an independent health policy research institute, found that payback for hospital tele-ICU programs occurs within about a year. In other research, Lilly et al3 reported on clinical improvements with tele-ICUs, including shorter length of stay, which positively impact the hospital’s financial status.

The wide cost-per-bed range cited by Kumar et al1 emphasizes that each institution must weigh the cost benefit of a program unique to its needs. Unfortunately, the authors speculated benefits of a tele-ICU without the information necessary to quantify actual results. Many hospitals demonstrate that a robust tele-ICU program not only reduces costs and increases revenue but also saves lives and prevents complications. In a study of 10,000 patients, Advanced ICU Care demonstrated an average 40% reduction in mortality and 25% reduction in length of stay across several hospitals.4

As noted by Gawande,5 “coherent, coordinated care” is the innovation needed to bring change to our health-care system. The tele-ICU, installed and operated in the right manner, is the best hope for our current ICU crisis caused by an aging population and a severe shortage of ICU specialists. We should rally around all solutions that bridge the gap in care and quality, not pick at the margins.

References

Kumar G, Falk DM, Bonello RS, Kahn JM, Perencevich E, Cram P. The costs of critical care telemedicine programs: a systematic review and analysis. Chest. 2013;143(1):19-29. [PubMed]
 
Fifer S, Everett W, Adams M, Vincequere J. Critical care, critical choices: the case for tele-ICUs in intensive care. NEHI website. http://www.nehi.net/publications/49/critical_care_critical_choices_the_case_for_teleicus_in_intensive_care. Accessed December 6, 2012.
 
Lilly CM, Cody S, Zhao H, et al;; University of Massachusetts Memorial Critical Care Operations Group University of Massachusetts Memorial Critical Care Operations Group. Hospital mortality, length of stay, and preventable complications among critically ill patients before and after tele-ICU reengineering of critical care processes. JAMA. 2011;305(21):2175-2183. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Gorman MJ. Driving best practices with tele-ICU. National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) website. http://www.nahq.org/annualconference/2012/401-404.html. Accessed October 9, 2012.
 
Gawande A.. Big med.The New Yorker. August 13, 2012.http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/13/120813fa_fact_gawande. Accessed December 6, 2012.
 

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References

Kumar G, Falk DM, Bonello RS, Kahn JM, Perencevich E, Cram P. The costs of critical care telemedicine programs: a systematic review and analysis. Chest. 2013;143(1):19-29. [PubMed]
 
Fifer S, Everett W, Adams M, Vincequere J. Critical care, critical choices: the case for tele-ICUs in intensive care. NEHI website. http://www.nehi.net/publications/49/critical_care_critical_choices_the_case_for_teleicus_in_intensive_care. Accessed December 6, 2012.
 
Lilly CM, Cody S, Zhao H, et al;; University of Massachusetts Memorial Critical Care Operations Group University of Massachusetts Memorial Critical Care Operations Group. Hospital mortality, length of stay, and preventable complications among critically ill patients before and after tele-ICU reengineering of critical care processes. JAMA. 2011;305(21):2175-2183. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
 
Gorman MJ. Driving best practices with tele-ICU. National Association for Healthcare Quality (NAHQ) website. http://www.nahq.org/annualconference/2012/401-404.html. Accessed October 9, 2012.
 
Gawande A.. Big med.The New Yorker. August 13, 2012.http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/08/13/120813fa_fact_gawande. Accessed December 6, 2012.
 
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