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Telemedicine in critical care 

Telemedicine in critical care
Chapter:
Telemedicine in critical care
Author(s):

Bela Patel

and Eric J. Thomas

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199600830.003.0012
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date: 26 February 2020

The majority of critically-ill patients are admitted to hospitals that do not have physician intensivist coverage, despite strong evidence that clinical outcomes are improved with intensivist staffing. Telemedicine can leverage clinical resources by providing critical care expertise to patients in intensive care units (ICUs) by off-site clinicians using video, audio, and electronic links. In the past 10 years, telemedicine in critical care has seen tremendous growth in the number of ICU patients being supported by this care model across the USA. The impact of ICU telemedicine coverage has been studied rigorously only in a few studies and the outcomes have been mixed and inconsistent. Telemedicine has been shown in some studies to improve adherence to ICU best practices for the prevention of deep venous thrombosis, stress ulcers, ventilator-associated pneumonia, and catheter-related bloodstream infections. Further research in ICU telemedicine is required to understand the variability of outcomes among the telemedicine programmes studied and to effectively implement the technology to consistently improve outcomes and reduce costs in the critical care environment.

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