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Tele-ICU for Veterans

Summary 
  • Need: To enhance care for patients in critical condition.
  • Intervention: Two VA facilities in Oklahoma and Ohio are connected through audiovisual equipment using smart technology in order for providers to monitor patients and consult with clinical staff at the bedside.
  • Results: From October 2019 to April 2021, there were 11,058 video assessments performed on ICU patients at the Oklahoma facility by tele-ICU staff. This resulted in 17,578 hours of patient care time.

Description

Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System (EOVAHCS) serves over 47,000 veterans in a 25-county region, with facilities in Tulsa and the rural communities of Muskogee, McAlester, Vinita, and Idabel. EOVAHCS and the Cincinnati VA Medical Center's Tele-ICU Monitoring Center have partnered to provide access to 24/7 remote patient monitoring for rural veterans in the intensive care unit (ICU) and emergency department.

The program was funded by the VHA Office of Rural Health.

Services offered

Tele-ICU with woman

Twelve ICU rooms and three emergency department rooms at EOVAHCS have teleconferencing equipment. EOVAHCS has also acquired two portable units that can connect from any room in the facility. Critical care nurses use this equipment to connect to providers and other critical care nurses from the Cincinnati VA Medical Center. Through teleconferencing, providers and nursing staff can access patients' bedside data, videoconference with patients, provide consultations, and communicate with clinical staff through any medical emergencies.

When a tele-ICU provider or nurse virtually enters a room, the camera turns to face the patient; now the provider and patient can see each other and communicate. The camera turns off when the teleconferencing session ends. The cameras do not record video.

Results

From October 2019 to April 2021, there were 11,058 video assessments performed on ICU patients at EOVAHCS by tele-ICU staff. This resulted in 17,578 hours of added assessment time by either an Intensivist or Certified Critical Care RN. This enhances the care provided by bedside staff and provides an additional layer of support.

Challenges

There has been a challenge with the emergency department (ED) not being able to use the remote patient monitoring because the critical patient is not in a room with the technology. More often, the staff members use tele-ICU to give a report on patients who will go to the ICU.

There have been some technology challenges that have not allowed the tele-ICU staff to see patients due to camera failure. To address this, the facility has updated the monitoring system of patients in the ICU and ED.

Replication

Through mandatory training for providers and nursing staff, program coordinators are seeing more involvement with tele-ICU.

Tele-ICU with man

Contact Information

Nita McClellan, Public Affairs Office at EOVAHCS
918.577.3704
benita.mcclellan@va.gov

Topics
Emergency department and urgent care services
Telehealth
Veterans

States served
Oklahoma

Date added
June 6, 2018

Date updated or reviewed
June 29, 2021

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2021. Tele-ICU for Veterans [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/project-examples/1014 [Accessed 17 October 2021]


Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.