With critical care costs in the U.S. totalling roughly $80-100 billion per year, new research highlights Intensive Care Unit (ICU) telemedicine as key to enabling hospitals and health systems to improve patient care at lower cost. The study, which examined the impact of Philips’ remote Intensive Care Unit (eICU) program on 118,990 critical care patients, across 56 ICUs, 32 hospitals and 19 health systems over a five-year period, demonstrated reductions in both mortality and length of stay. The results were statistically significant on both an unadjusted and severity-adjusted basis. The key findings were that, compared to patients receiving usual ICU care, patients who received their ICU care from a hospital that utilized the eICU program were:
- 26% more likely to survive the ICU;
- Discharged from the ICU 20% faster;
- 16% more likely to survive hospitalisation and be discharged;
- Discharged from the hospital 15% faster.
“This is the first large-scale study that ties ICU telemedicine to both the improvement of patient outcomes and cost reduction through shorter length of stays in the ICU and hospital, and identifies the processes that achieved greater efficiency,” said Dr. Lilly. “These results point to a significant opportunity to better manage and treat our critical patients in this time of increasing pressure from healthcare reform to deliver high quality and cost-effective care.” Hospitals and health systems that saw the largest reduction in length of stay and mortality rates were those that excelled in certain components of the program – involving people, technology and processes. As a result, the study revealed the following program design elements common to the most successful ICU telemedicine programs:
- Having an intensivist physician perform a remote review of the patient and care plan within one hour of ICU admission;
- Frequent collaborative review and use of performance data provided by the ICU telemedicine program;
- Faster response times to technology-based alerts and alarms for physiological and laboratory value instability;
- Increased rates of adherence to ICU best practices for those that are supported by the ICU telemedicine team;
- Interdisciplinary rounds;
- Institutional ICU committee effectiveness.