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An evaluation of the impact of the implementation of the Tele-ICU: a retrospective observational study

HumanInsight An evaluation of the impact of the implementation of the Tele-ICU: a retrospective observational study

J Intensive Care. 2023 Mar 7;11(1):9. doi: 10.1186/s40560-023-00657-4.


BACKGROUND: The telemedicine intensive care unit (Tele-ICU) is defined as a system in which intensive care professionals remotely provide care to critically ill patients and support the on-site staff in the intensive care unit (ICU) using secured audio-video and electronic links. Although the Tele-ICU is expected to resolve the shortage of intensivists and reduce the regional disparities in intensive care resources, the efficacy has not yet been evaluated in Japan because of a lack of clinically available system.

METHODS: This was a single-center, historical comparison study in which the impact of the Tele-ICU on ICU performance and changes in workload of the on-site staff were evaluated. The Tele-ICU system developed in the United States was used. Data for 893 adult ICU patients before the Tele-ICU implementation and for all adult patients registered in the Tele-ICU system from April 2018 to March 2020 were abstracted and included. We investigated ICU and hospital mortality and length of stay and ventilation duration after the Tele-ICU implementation in each ICU, and compared between pre and post implementation and changes over time. We also assessed physician workload as defined by the frequency and duration of access to the electronic medical record (EMR) of the targeted ICU patients.

RESULTS: After the Tele-ICU implementation 5438 patients were included. In unadjusted data pre/post study showed significant decreases in ICU (8.5-3.8%) and hospital (12.4-7.7%) mortality and ICU length of stay (p < 0.001), and those values were maintained for 2 years. In data stratified by predicted hospital mortality, ICU and hospital actual mortality in high and medium risk patients decreased significantly after the implementation. Ventilation duration was shortened (p < 0.007). Access frequency of the on-site physicians decreased by 25%, and the decrease occurred in the daytime shift and in the physicians with 3-15 years of work experience.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study showed the Tele-ICU implementation was associated with lower mortality, especially in medium and high risk patients, and decreased EMR-related tasks of on-site physicians. These results suggest that the Tele-ICU could be a solution of the shortage of intensivists and regional disparities for intensive care.

PMID:36882878 | DOI:10.1186/s40560-023-00657-4

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