Telemedicine in the intensive care unit environment—a survey of the attitudes and perspectives of critical care clinicians

Reza Shahpori, Marilynne Hebert, Andre Kushniruk, Dan Zuege
Journal of Critical Care 2011, 26 (3): 328.e9-15

PURPOSE: This study was conducted to assess the preimplementation knowledge and perceptions of intensive care unit (ICU) clinicians regarding the ability of telemedicine in the ICU environment (Tele-ICU) to address challenges resulting from the shortages of experienced critical care human resources and the drive to improve quality of care.

METHODS: An online survey was administered to clinicians from a Canadian multisite critical care department. Qualitative and quantitative analyses were undertaken to identify key positive and negative themes.

RESULTS: The overall self-rated knowledge about Tele-ICU was low, with significant uncertainty particularly related to the novelty of the technology, lack of widespread existing implementations, and insufficient education. A significant degree of skepticism was expressed regarding the ability of Tele-ICU to address the challenges of staff shortages and quality of care.

CONCLUSIONS: Significant uncertainty and skepticism were expressed by critical care clinicians regarding the ability of Tele-ICU to address the challenges of human resource limitation and the delivery of quality care. This suggests the need for further research and education of system impact beyond patient outcomes related to this new technology.

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