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The Initial Impact of Tele-Critical Care on the Surgical Services of a Community Military Hospital.

The Initial Impact of Tele-Critical Care on the Surgical Services of a Community Military Hospital.

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The Initial Impact of Tele-Critical Care on the Surgical Services of a Community Military Hospital.

Mil Med. 2018 Apr 04;:

Authors: Van Gent JM, Davis KL, Henry N, Zander AL, Kuettel MA, Edson T, Nelson TJ, Tadlock MD

Abstract
Introduction: Mortality is reduced in hospitals staffed with intensivists, however, many smaller military hospitals lack intensivist support. Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton (NHCP) is a Military Treatment Facility (MTF) that operates a 6-bed Intensive Care Unit (ICU) north of its referral center, Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD). To address a gap in NHCP on-site intensivist coverage, a comprehensive Tele-Critical Care (TCC) support system was established between NHCP and NMCSD. To examine the initial impact of telemedicine on surgical ICU patients, we compare NHCP surgical ICU admissions before and after TCC implementation.
Materials and methods: Patient care by remote intensivist was achieved utilizing video teleconferencing technology, and remote access to electronic medical records. Standardization was promoted by adopting protocols and mandatory intensivist involvement in all ICU admissions. Surgical ICU admissions prior to TCC implementation (pre-TCC) were compared to those following TCC implementation (post-TCC).
Results: Of 828 ICU admissions, 21% were surgical. TCC provided coverage during 35% of the intervention period. Comparing pre-TCC and post-TCC periods, there was a significant increase in the percentage of surgical ICU admissions [15.3 % vs 24.6%, p = 0.01] and the average monthly APACHE II score [4.1vs 6.5, p = 0.03]. The total number of surgical admissions per month also increased [3.9 vs 6.3, p = 0.009]. No adverse outcomes were identified.
Conclusion: Implementation of TCC was associated with an increase in the scope and complexity of surgical admissions with no adverse outcomes. Surgeons were able to safely expand the surgical services offered requiring perioperative ICU care to patients who previously may have been transferred. Caring for these types of patients not only maintains the operational readiness of deployable caregivers but patient experience is also enhanced by minimizing transfers away from family. Further exploration of TCC on surgical case volume and complexity is warranted.

PMID: 29635539 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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