AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Study Confirms Predictions Of Telemedicine Benefits for ICU’s

Supporters of telemedicine have long predicted that the application of telemedicine services in Intensive Care Units (ICU’S) would have a beneficial effect on costs and patient outcomes and the first large-scale multi-center study of the effects of use of telemedicine in the intensive care unit for adult care is indicating significant improvements in patient care and lower costs.

The results of the study were released in the CHEST Journal Online First, a publication of the American College of Chest Physicians. The study, “A Multi-center  Study of Telemedicine Reengineering of Adult Critical Care,” looked at the impact of the program on 118,990 critical care patients, across 56 ICUs, 32 hospitals and 19 health systems over a five-year period, and demonstrated reductions in both mortality and length of stay.

Among the key findings were that, compared to patients receiving conventional ICU care, patients using the telemedicine ICU program were:

  • 26 percent more likely to survive the ICU;
  • Discharged from the ICU 20 percent faster;
  • 16 percent more likely to survive hospitalization and be discharged; and
  • Discharged from the hospital 15 percent faster.

Craig Lilly, M.D., professor of medicine, anesthesiology and surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and director of the eICU program at UMass Memorial Medical Center, said, “The study demonstrates that if you use really high-quality tools and motivated and talented people, that you can shift the paradigm; you can save lives and you can save money at the same time.” He added that the study is large enough, that it provides some insights as to ICU telemedicine works, and where its use makes sense. He noted that not everybody that implemented the ICU telemedicine tools did it in the same way. By using the validated survey instrument, the researchers were able to identify factors that made a difference in better patient care.

“Today, personnel accounts for 56 percent of the $2.8 trillion healthcare spend in the U.S., and coupled with the current shortage of clinicians, many hospitals are unable to offer on-site intensivist physicians, 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Brian Rosenfeld, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Philips Healthcare Telehealth. “This study provides further evidence that health systems employing coordinated telehealth in their care models will increase provider productivity, while improving outcomes and reducing costs.”


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