Objectives: A tele-intensive care unit (tele-ICU) uses telemedicine in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting, applying technology to provide care to critically ill patients by off-site clinical resources. The purpose of this review was to examine the implementation, adoption, and utilization of tele-ICU systems by hospitals to determine their efficiency and efficacy as identified by cost savings and patient outcomes.
Methods: This literature review examined a large number of studies of implementation of tele-ICU systems in hospitals.
Results: The evidence supporting cost savings was mixed. Implementation of a tele- ICU system was associated with cost savings, shorter lengths of stay, and decreased mortality. However, two studies suggested increased hospital cost after implementation of tele-ICUs is initially expensive but eventually results in cost savings and better clinical outcomes.
Conclusions: Intensivists working these systems are able to more effectively treat ICU patients, providing better clinical outcomes for patients at lower costs compared with hospitals without a tele-ICU.
Coustasse A, Deslich S, Bailey D, Hairston A, Paul D. A business case for tele-intensive care units. The Permanente Journal 2014 Fall;18(4):76-84. © 2014 The Permanente Press.