Saturday, October 01, 2011

I wanna be a virtual nurse

So I have been hanging out in the ICU lately and I talk to the nurses. One nurse told me about a new thing that is coming to their hospital - it's called the EICU. Enhanced Intensive Care Unit.

Apparently 10% of all ICU patients in the country are electronically monitored with this system. A center is set up with critical care nurses and intensivists who continally monitor patients and see trends and help manage critical situations. They can make suggestions on how to manage patients. In the hospital in my area it will be used to monitor patients in outstate small hospitals. Its a 2nd set of eyes and links smaller hospitals to advanced help.

I think this is being done in all kinds of hospitals, not just rural or small town hospitals. Some hospital systems have it for the majority of their hospitals.

I wonder what the ICU nurses think of it. In the smaller hospitals I would think it would be welcome. In the bigger hospitals, nurses might not like it. There are a lot of nurses who want control of their patient situation and don't want anyone interfering. They would have a hard time with someone trying to help manage the patient from some remote location.

Is this the nursing of the future? I can envision hospitals having this and figuring they can have less nurses or give the nurses they have more patients because there is always someone watching.

Your thoughts?


Miss B. Havior said...

Before I transferred to Mayberry Medical Center, I worked in an ICU with EICU. It was great! We were a large hospital, but not a teaching hospital (No residents around to rely on). At the moment when your patient was started circling the drain, BAM!, you called for help and the large camera on the wall in the patient's room came to life. The Doctor was in. Amazing cameras with the ability to zoom in close enough to check out the minutest of details with microphones and speakers. Orders were faxed/interneted to to us, pharmacy, et al.
It saved us a huge amount of time and ultimately saved many patients.

dan said...

What are the monitoring capacities of these systems? When do you expect them to intervene? Are they like tele techs (RNs) watching the montitors? Watching patients in their rooms? What advice can they provide once "called"?

Anonymous said...

I was wary of the EICU in our Seattle cardiac unit when I switched, but it didn't take long to come around to it. If you get a chance, get behind one of the screens so that you can see what the "doc in the box" and nurses see- the detail (even subtle color changes in the patient!) show up well. Like Miss B. Havior said, saved a lot of time and headache with getting someone to bedside and getting orders done. Once you get over the disembodied voice in the room and sounds of the camera moving around, EICU is great!