What is eICU?
The term eICU, also known as teleICU, is the diagnosis and treatment of hospital patients in need of the most critical care by remote intensivists using technology like videoconferencing. It makes it possible for hospitals to have access to critical care specialists in the ICU, Emergency Room, or Med/Surg floors and be connected face-to-face in minutes. Similar to emergency department physicians and hospitalists, intensivists are an integral component of acute care telemedicine.
Why is the use of eICU use growing?
There are several reasons that the use of eICU is growing:
- Physician shortages make it hard to recruit enough intensivists to staff appropriately.
- An aging population means that there is more demand for services.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to protect providers so that they can avoid exposure and continue to treat patients
- With high demand and not enough supply, physicians experience burnout trying to make up the gap.
- The rapid acceleration of the adoption of technology, like mobile phones, means consumers expect more convenience in their healthcare.
eICU coverage can also help hospitals who have critical care physicians on staff, allowing them to offload some of their work and gain visibility into what is happening across the hospital and leverage their own skillset more broadly.
Benefits of eICU
- Access to the board-certified US-trained intensivists to assist with clinically complex patients anywhere in the hospital
- Earlier interventions for critically ill patients
- Increased awareness of high acuity patients for proactive monitoring
- Improved care quality and compliance with core metrics
- Protocol-driven best practices of care
- Support for ED staff with difficult admit vs transfer decisions
- More timely discharges from the ICU unit
- Decreased ventilator days
- Can help hospitals achieve and maintain The Leapfrog Group’s quality and safety standards.
Hospitals who need to treat their most critical patients, but lack Intensivists, use eICU as a cost-effective way to gain access to critical care specialists. With a shortage of intensivists nationwide, eICU, or teleICU, allows hospitals to provide access to these highly-trained specialists to their most critically-ill patients. Learn more about eICU with the resources below: