Tele-Intensive Care Unit

Upper Valley Medical Center’s critically ill patients have the benefit of an advanced telemedicine program designed to enhance patient safety with an extra layer of care. The intensive care unit (ICU) uses a tele-ICU system that provides monitoring by highly trained intensivist physicians and critical care specialists 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

The system is a partnership between Premier Health and Advanced ICU Care, the largest tele-ICU provider in the United States. 

How Does Tele-ICU Work?

Tele-ICU brings together UVMC physicians with Advanced ICU Care’s remote critical care specialists to collaborate on patient care in the ICU. The Advanced ICU Care teams are led by intensivists — physicians who specialize in critical care medicine and collaborate on care for UVMC patients from off-site care centers. They are able to do this because they receive a constant stream of secure patient information and interact with our bedside teams, patients, and patient families through two-way audiovisual technology.

Tele-ICU enables us to provide patients a level of care consistent with clinical research and best practices. This includes helping us deliver to our community the gold standard in critical care: round-the-clock, intensivist-led care, which is important for improved patient outcomes and patient safety. 

Benefits Of Partnership     

A key benefit of the tele-ICU partnership is knowing that patients are being vigilantly monitored by experienced intensivists when their bedside physician cannot be present. This partnership provides added support and expertise to ensure emerging issues can be dealt with as quickly as possible. 

The new system includes proactive data management tools that help to identify problems before they become urgent and allow the tele-ICU team to work alongside the hospital team to address situations before complications develop.

An ICU stay can be difficult for patients and families. Through our tele-ICU partnership, they know that advanced care and support is being delivered and that critical care-trained doctors and skilled nurses are always available.

Supporting On-site Physicians And Caregivers 

Tele-ICU in no way replaces the bedside clinician, but rather adds a supplemental layer of safety and protection. UVMC physicians still lead ICU patient care, with their care plans complemented by tele-ICU from Advanced ICU Care. 

Critical care nurses appreciate the additional care and support this system provides, especially the knowledge that an intensivist physician can be monitoring the patient at all times.

Partnership With Advanced ICU Care

Advanced ICU Care was the first independent organization to offer tele-ICU services and has been the leading provider for over 10 years. Their comprehensive approach to tele-ICU is the new standard of care because they are readily available in urgent situations, as well as always behind the scenes. For example, because they’re “always on,” they can monitor patients and proactively intervene before a situation becomes urgent when our physicians and nurses are providing care in a different patient room.   

Studies Show Positive Impact On Patient Outcomes

Independent studies demonstrate that this 24/7 intensivist monitoring significantly improves patient outcomes and patient safety in the intensive care unit. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), implementation of a tele-ICU program was associated with reduced adjusted odds of mortality and reduced hospital length of stay, as well as with improvements in best practice adherence and lower rates of preventable complications. Another study published by the New England Healthcare Institute (NEHI) recommends that community hospitals with 10 or more ICU beds adopt tele-ICU care. UVMC currently has 10 ICU beds.