Technology Meets Medicine in eICU

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Patients in intensive care units require around-the-clock care. Electronic ICU’s, also known as eICU’s are state-of-the-art telemedicine facilities that use video cameras, microphones, alarms, and other monitoring tools to keep an eye on the sickest of patients, no matter where they are located in the country.

“They’re a second set of eyes for taking care of the critical care patients,” says Linda Clemen, VP and Chief Nursing Officer at KSB Hospital. “eICU’s remove distance as a barrier which has been a problem for hospitals in rural areas. Having the ability to bring more specialists to the bed of the patient without transporting them to a different facility saves the patient money, and allows them to stay comfortable close to home.” 

KSB has partnered with OSF HealthCare to bring eICU services to our intensive care unit for 3 of our ICU beds. The purpose is to save lives, reduce complications, decrease length of ICU stays, and better manage healthcare costs.

You might be asking yourself, just what is an eICU Program? Imagine air travel without air traffic control to see & process what is not visible to the pilots.  In a similar way, the OSF eICU program provides a cost-effective methodology to help hospitals avert potential patient complications.   It is an advanced way of centralizing our most experienced and scarce critical care specialist to help bedside clinicians oversee the care of patients – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – for improved patient outcomes and reduced complications.

How will the eICU Program help patients and their families?

The eICU team contributes to patient care in many ways such as remotely monitoring 24/7 patient vital signs, medications, blood test results, x-rays, and other information; reviewing real-time data and responding quickly to avoid a crisis; should an emergency occur. The eICU physician follows evidence-based guidelines to assist the bedside medical team through the emergency until the on-call physician can respond.

“The addition of an eICU at KSB provides an added layer of care to the traditional ICU care model,” said Clemen. “It creates a safety net for patients to ensure that they experience the best outcomes possible. Evidenced-based protocols and algorithms are used to monitor for subtle changes in patient conditions based on the information that the bedside nurse enters into the electronic medical record and the information on the patient’s bedside cardiac monitor. The software program used in the eICU monitors for trends in the data and alerts the eICU staff to potential changes in patient conditions.”

The KSB eICU staff is excited and proud to partner with OSF. “Our ICU nurses have many years of experience in caring for critical-care patients and they are extremely excited for the opportunity to work with the OSF team and treat critically ill patients here who in the past, may have had to be transferred,” said Pam Eubanks, KSB ICU Director.

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