Resident perceptions of a tele-intensive care unit implementation

Christian Coletti, Daniel J Elliott, Marc T Zubrow
Telemedicine Journal and E-health 2010, 16 (8): 894-7

OBJECTIVE: Remote intensive care unit (ICU) monitoring (tele-ICU) may provide a means to address the shortage of intensive care physicians. However, the consequences of implementing a tele-ICU system for house staff education and clinical experience are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine resident perceptions of the impact of a tele-ICU implementation on patient care, education, and the overall work environment.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Cross-sectional survey of residents who rotated through the medical ICU within the first year after the implementation of a tele-ICU in a large, academically affiliated, community hospital. Each question was graded on a 5-point Likert scale.

RESULTS: Thirty-five of 60 residents completed the survey (58% response rate). Sixty-three percent of residents reported that tele-ICU was associated with an improved ability to focus on urgent patient issues, and 46% thought that the tele-ICU helped them to feel less overwhelmed. Although most residents were neutral (51%), 37% agreed that the tele-ICU was a valuable educational experience. Seventy-seven percent reported that the tele-ICU integration was associated with improved patient safety, but many were concerned about the impact on continuity and communication. There was no perceived association with patient or family satisfaction.

CONCLUSIONS: Our study suggests that a tele-ICU implementation in a medical ICU does not seem to have a negative impact on the educational experience of residents and is associated with perceived improvements in patient safety and quality. Future studies should objectively measure the educational impact of implementing a tele-ICU system.

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