The eICU solution uses telemedicine technology plus early warning software and electronic monitoring to connect off-site critical care physician specialists known as intensivists to ICU patients. The advanced technology promises fundamental changes in hospital ICU care and bedside medication delivery.
"Saint Luke's Health System is already a leader in the region in outstanding patient outcomes and the new eICU system will add an extra layer of care and safety", stated Saint Luke's Health System President and Chief Executive Officer, G. Richard Hastings. "It's a tremendous complement to the high-quality care already provided by our intensive care physicians and nurses and offers an innovative way to extend their expertise to ICU beds throughout the Saint Luke's Health System." Mr. Hastings added: "We are proud to be on the forefront of the high-tech support systems and part of the future of health care."
Initially the eICU system will be introduced at Saint Luke's Hospital, Saint Luke's Northland Hospital and Saint Luke's South, involving 58 ICU beds in the Kansas City area. Final implementation at these sites is anticipated in December 2003. Eventually the eICU solution will be expanded to include other health system hospitals, including Anderson County Hospital in Garnett, Kansas; Wright Memorial Hospital in Trenton, Missouri; and Cushing Memorial Hospital in Leavenworth, Kansas.
George Pagels, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, stated: "The return on investment from the eICU solution will be seen by our sickest patients in reduced complications, shorter hospital stays, and lower mortality rates."
Frank T. Sample, president and CEO of VISICU, commented on the growing nationwide expansion of the eICU solution and the opportunity it provides for saving more lives. "The planned installation at Saint Luke's Health System marks the expansion of the eICU care model into five major metropolitan health systems and two major military facilities." Mr. Sample added: "We are excited to partner with world class organisations like Saint Luke's Health System, who represent the leaders in patient safety and are willing to try new approaches to ensure optimal care for their patients."
Saint Luke's Health System consists of eight area hospitals and 14 primary care practices and provides a range of primary, acute, tertiary and chronic care services. The health system is an organisation in which the physicians and hospitals, functioning as an integrated unit, assume responsibility for the delivery of comprehensive, cost-effective, quality health care for people in the metropolitan Kansas City area and the surrounding region.
VISICU Inc., a privately held company founded in 1998 by two intensivist physicians, is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The eICU solution enables hospitals to standardise ICU care across multiple hospitals and leverage scarce intensivist talent. From a centralised eICU, intensivists and nurses monitor and care for ICU patients through a high-fidelity telemedicine network, that has been likened to air traffic control.
The proprietary software is used to pro-actively manage patients and electronically connect the "patient to the doctor". A Cap-Gemini Ernest&Young study of the eICU proved the clinical and financial benefits and the eICU is currently the only technology solution that enables hospitals to meet the Leapfrog Group's ICU patient care safety standards. VISICU won the 2001 Healthcare Informatics and Technology Award and in 2002 the eICU was recognised as one of the Top 100 technical innovations by InfoWorld magazine. For more information, you can read the VMW September 2002 article Sutter Health to invest in life saving eICU technology and medication delivery.