VitalCom's real time SiteLink telemedicine system turns Sutter Memorial into e-hospital

Sacramento 10 February 2000VitalCom Inc. has successfully implemented its largest real time SiteLink cardiac telemedicine system at Sutter Memorial Hospital. The company's SiteLink product enables Sutter Memorial Hospital, a 346-bed regional tertiary care facility to provide 24-hour monitoring for up to 40 patients at the 357-bed Sutter General Hospital, located three miles away.


"We have revolutionised our patient care practices using SiteLink technology to connect remote patients with caregivers", stated Shelly McGriff, Sutter Medical Center's Chief Nurse Executive. "With SiteLink, we are able to standardise the quality of monitoring service for all patients, irrespective of where they are provided care. This concept will yet be magnified if we make SiteLink available to other hospitals affiliated with Sutter Health."

SiteLink is part of VitalCom's PatientNet Enterprise Monitoring System, an innovative product suite designed for monitoring patient vital signs across a health care enterprise. The PatientNet system creates an advanced technical infrastructure by enhancing patient information with intelligent software and making it available via wireless technology, the Internet and a real time wide area network.

PatientNet enables today's e-hospital to access vital sign information for hundreds of patients using disparate brands of monitors across multiple locations. "For regional health care delivery organisations such as Sutter Health, SiteLink is a cost-effective method of providing and standardising monitoring care throughout the health system", said Frank T. Sample, VitalCom president and chief executive officer.

"Additionally, by consolidating all monitoring activities in the PatientNet Mission Control centre located at one of its tertiary facilities, Sutter can expect to reduce the number of patient care interruptions and standardise monitoring quality across the health system while realising significant cost reductions."

Sutter Health, an already existing VitalCom customer, decided to upgrade to PatientNet, the latest version of VitalCom's Enterprise Monitoring System. At present, rather than monitoring patients unit-by-unit, certified monitoring technicians in the PatientNet Mission Control Center at Sutter Memorial provide dedicated 24-hour cardiac surveillance for all monitored patients in both hospitals, instantly paging the appropriate care provider if a critical event occurs.

To ensure patient safety, caregivers at Sutter General have the same real time access to monitoring information as the tertiary facility, and maintain primary responsibility for their patients. A fail-safe backup system ensures that patient monitoring at the remote facility is never interrupted, even if the connection to the Mission Control room were to be interrupted.

Because monitoring technicians in the Mission Control room at Sutter Memorial keep a vigilant eye on patients' heart rhythms, the nurses at the affiliate site have more time for hands-on patient care. VitalCom's SiteLink application received the Innovator Award in Telemedicine in November 1998 from the National Managed Health Care Congress.

Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento is a non-profit health care system, that is comprised of Sutter General Hospital, Sutter Memorial Hospital, and Sutter Center for Psychiatry specialising in heart and transplant services, women's and children's services, cancer, orthopaedics, neuroscience, spine and mental health services.

The SMCS is a part of Sutter Health, a network of primary and speciality physicians, outpatient and mental health services and more than two dozen hospitals, five of which are located in the greater Sacramento area. Sutter Health has been meeting the medical needs of Northern California residents for more than 75 years.

VitalCom, with headquarters in Tustin, constitutes a leading manufacturer and provider of real time, open and wireless patient information networks and software. The company sells its solution through direct and Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) channels. The direct sales channel sells Enterprise Monitoring for the e-hospital, an infrastructure technology that integrates patient information from different manufacturers' monitoring and bedside devices into a single network, making patient information available in real time via the Internet, a wireless LAN, a system wide intranet and WAN.

Enterprise Monitoring draws on VitalCom's established strengths in building large-scale wireless patient information networks capable of supporting the current complex health care organisations. Enterprise Monitoring has been installed in more than 100 hospitals all over the country including Barnes Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, Saint Luke's - Shawnee Mission Health System in Kansas City, and also the University of Alabama Medical Center in Birmingham. Currently, VitalCom's largest Enterprise Monitoring system is a 288-channel system at Washington Hospital Center in Northwest Washington, D.C.

Leslie Versweyveld

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