Swedish Medical Center is first to offer eICU care in the Northwest of the United States

Baltimore 12 February 2004Swedish Medical Center in Seattle will be the first in the Northwest to offer VISICU's critical-care patients eICU care. This contract reflects Swedish Medical Center's ongoing commitment to improving patient care and quality throughout its health system. The eICU solution uses telemedicine, early warning software and electronic monitoring to connect and provide off-site critical-care physicians and nurses with the information needed to pro-actively care for ICU patients. The advanced technology enables Leapfrog ICU patient safety compliance and promises fundamental changes in hospital ICU care. The Swedish Medical Center installation will initially include connecting the eICU facility to 42 ICU beds located on the First Hill campus and later to the health system's two other Seattle-area campuses.

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"This is a great opportunity for us to take a giant leap forward to ensure the absolute highest level of ICU care available", stated Curtis Veal, M.D., a Swedish-affiliated internal-medicine and pulmonary specialist. "The technology has already been implemented in sites around the country and there have been significant improvements in outcomes for ICU patients, including fewer complications, reduced length of stay and increased comfort for families."

Swedish Medical Center is the largest, most comprehensive, non-profit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. Swedish is comprised of three hospital campuses, First Hill, Providence and Ballard, a home-care services division and a network of 11 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is a regional referral centre, providing specialised treatment in areas such as cardiac care, oncology, orthopaedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, sleep medicine, paediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research.

"The eICU technology will allow us to provide dedicated intensivist coverage in all of our ICUs. It's part of our mission to provide the best possible care for every patient we serve. At the same time, it helps meet Leapfrog patient safety standards that companies such as Boeing are requesting on behalf of their employees", stated Richard H. Peterson, president and CEO of Swedish Medical Center. "This will allow Swedish to be the Northwest leader in hospital intensive care and related technologies. It will also help us recruit intensivists to the organisation, because of our level of commitment to the very best, comprehensive ICU care."

"Swedish's implementation of an eICU solution is inspirational proof to large health care purchasers that leveraging or strategic use of information technology in health care can help hurdle health care labour shortages and deliver breakthroughs in patient safety and health care affordability", stated Arnold Milstein, M.D., co-founder of the Leapfrog Group and United States health care thought leader with Mercer Human Resource Consulting.

"As one that has been invested in the Seattle area for over 13 years, I'm pleased to partner with Swedish in bringing our life-saving technology to the Northwest", stated Frank T. Sample, VISICU president and CEO. "The eICU solution dramatically demonstrates the Swedish commitment to high-quality patient care not only in Seattle, but throughout the 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 standardize ICU care across multiple hospitals and leverage scarce intensivist talent. From a centralized eICU, intensivists and nurses monitor and care for ICU patients through a high-fidelity, telemedicine network that has been likened to air traffic control. Proprietary software is used to pro-actively manage patient care and electronically connect the patient to the doctor, 24/7.

A study of the eICU system published in the Journal of Critical Care Medicine (2004; 30:31-38) proved the clinical and financial benefits. The eICU solution 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 recognized as one of the top 100 technical innovations by InfoWorld magazine. More on VISICU's eICU system is available in the VMW September 2003 article Research project tests VISICU eICU solution in telehealth consultations between Hawaii and Guam.


Leslie Versweyveld

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