ROCHESTER, MN — Critically ill patients are benefiting from a new program designed to improve care and shorten hospital stays. Mayo Clinic’s Enhanced Critical Care program offers 24/7 remote monitoring of the sickest patients at six Mayo Clinic Health System hospitals, technology that requires a very robust broadband network.
Patients will continue to receive care from the local care team, but physicians and nurses in an operations center in Rochester will monitor patients’ vital signs and other health data on a computerized system able to detect subtle changes in a patient’s condition. High definition video cameras and computer screens will allow operations center staff to communicate with patients, their families and the care team.
Enhanced Critical Care is available at Mayo Clinic Health System locations in Austin, Albert Lea, Fairmont and Mankato, Minn.; and Eau Claire and La Crosse, Wis.
“It’s like having an extra set of eyes on every patient,” says Dany Abou Abdallah, M.D., a pulmonologist and director of the critical care unit in Eau Claire. “With this program, operations center nurses and physicians continuously review patients’ vital signs and other data. The minute they notice a potential problem, they can alert the local care team.”
Proven Reductions in ICU Deaths and Lengths of Stay
Remote monitoring systems are in place at about 10 percent of all intensive care unit beds in the United States. A University of Massachusetts study published in the May 16, 2011 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association showed a 20 percent reduction in intensive care deaths and a 32 percent reduction in intensive care unit stays when critical care units used such a system.
“This is a more proactive way to take care of patients,” says Sean Caples, D.O., a critical care specialist in Rochester and program medical director. “The way we’re delivering care is changing, but our end goal remains the same: providing the best care possible to patients. We’re taking advantage of new technology to help us do that.”
Dr. Abou Abdallah emphasizes that the Enhanced Critical Care program is secure and private. The service is available at no additional cost to patients.