University of Pennsylvania Health System launches life-saving eICU technology

Philadelphia 08 November 2004The University of Pennsylvania Health System (UPHS) will be the first health system in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware to go live with eICU technology on November 15th. The Health System's Penn E-lert will permit remote "live" coverage of Intensive Care Units (ICUs) by practising, critical-care physicians - intensivists - via a comprehensive telemedicine system that includes early-warning software, order entry, clinical decision support, electronic documentation, and remote physiologic monitoring. Penn E-lert will be on-line first in the ICUs in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and Pennsylvania Hospital (PAH).


"This new initiative brings UPHS to the forefront of cutting-edge technology focused on quality and patient care", stated C. William Hanson, MD, Medical Director of the Penn E-lert programme. "HUP and Pennsylvania Hospitals will set the mark on how to bring ICU care into the future, while at the same time, enhancing patient care." The Penn E-lert system is expected to cover all adult ICU beds in the health system, including those at Presbyterian Medical Center, within 24 months.

Penn E-lert features real-time data, audio, and video monitoring of ICU patients by UPHS intensivists and critical-care nurses, all from one central command centre, every day, seven days a week, 365 days per year. The command centre is meant to supplement the on-site care provided in the ICUs by critical-care doctors and nurses, especially during off hours, such as nights and weekends. The eICU technology is a patented product of VISICU Inc., located in Baltimore, Maryland.

Penn E-lert will function like an air-traffic control centre, providing assistance and guidance to the attending doctors, residents and nurses in the hospital ICUs. The system will be networked via voice, video, physiological monitors and other clinical data with the physicians and nurses in the hospital ICUs. "Penn is committed to enhancing care by utilizing the latest proven technology to more effectively manage a patient's stay in the ICU. Over time, we expect Penn E-lert to help us significantly reduce mortality, complications, length of stay in the ICU, and overall health care costs", added Dr. Hanson.

PENN Medicine is a $2,7 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school, and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, created in 1993 as the nation's first integrated academic health system. Penn's School of Medicine is ranked number 3 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds. Supporting 1400 full time faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

Penn Health System is comprised of its flagship hospital, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; Presbyterian Medical Center; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multi-speciality satellite facilities; and home health care and hospice.

VISICU Inc., a privately held company founded in 1998 by two intensivist physicians from Johns Hopkins, is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The patented eICU solution enables hospitals to standardize ICU care across multiple hospitals and leverage scarce intensivist resources. From a centralized eICU facility, 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", 24x7. A study of the eICU system published in the Journal of Critical Care Medicine (Crit Care Med 2004; 30:31-38) proved the clinical and financial benefits. The eICU solution is currently the only technology that enables hospitals to meet the Leapfrog Group's ICU patient care safety standards and is continually recognized for its technology innovations. More news on VISICU is available in the VMW November 2004 article Visicu's innovative life saving eICU solution awarded United States patent.

Leslie Versweyveld

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