There has been a lot of talk about how tele eICU services can benefit hospitals. They can ease staffing shortages, expanding budgets, and ensure ICU coverage no matter the time of day or night. But these services don’t just offer administrative advantages. They also benefit ICU patients, which in the end, is what is most important. Here are some of the patient benefits of tele ICU services.
Reduced ICU Stays
Research has indicated that ICUs that are equipped with tele ICU services have shorter patient stays than those that don’t have this technology. There are several reasons behind this, but the main one is that patients are assessed more often because there is always a qualified intensivist available to determine whether a patient needs to stay in the ICU or can be moved to a non-ICU bed.
Not only does this free up additional ICU beds in times when they’re desperately needed, but it also means the patient won’t be saddled with ICU bills from times they didn’t really need to be in the ICU. Additionally, because patients’ conditions are assessed more frequently, any deterioration is spotted earlier so it can be immediately corrected. This reduces ICU stays by not allowing patients to get sicker than they already are.
Reduced Mortality Rate
The same research that found shorter ICU stays as a result of telemedicine also discovered that ICU patients had a reduced mortality rate as well. This is again because a remote intensivist is constantly monitoring ICU patients so their conditions can be assessed almost continually. If someone begins to deteriorate, the intensivist on call is going to catch it much earlier than someone in-person who is unable to monitor patient conditions as closely.
Moreover, since there’s always someone available via telemedicine who can order medication, procedures, and other medical interventions, a patient never has to go without this care if an intensivist isn’t on staff overnight or on weekends. Even though ICU staff members always have the ability to contact an on-call intensivist for these situations, even the smallest delays in care can be the difference between life and death.
Reduced Medical Bills
This was touched on earlier, but it’s important enough to have its own section. Medical expenses are already astronomical and even unaffordable for some people. ICU bills tend to be higher than regular hospital bills because of the technology, procedures, staffing, and other factors involved. The sooner a patient can get out of the ICU, the better it is for their wallet. The hospital also doesn’t want to incur those more expensive charges either, so it’s actually a financial benefit for both the patient and the hospital for patients to only be in the ICU when they really need to be there.
Telemedicine services are becoming a way of life for many people, particularly since the pandemic highlighted the need for remote care. But the tele ICU services are especially beneficial for patients because they reduce their ICU length of stay, their mortality rate, and their hospital bills. Yes, eICU technology is great for hospitals, but it’s just as great for patients.