Eye in the sky to help save lives in hospital ICUs

Intensive Care Unit Programme from Philips offers telehealth solution to monitor patients 24 hours a day

A remote ‘eye in the sky’ will help to keep round-the-clock tabs on critically-ill patients.

The telehealth solution, known as the Intensive Care Unit Programme (eICU), will be installed for the first time in the UK at London’s Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals, part of the King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre.

ICU is one of the most challenging areas of the hospital – it is where doctors and nurses respond to the sickest, most-vulnerable patients who can rapidly take a turn for the worse with little or no advance warning

The Philips eICU installation at the hospitals will be the first of its kind in the UK and Europe. The system, supported by funding from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, is set to be implemented within a year, with technical preparations currently underway. Upon completion, the system will provide care to a minimum of 65 ICU beds with the potential to expand to 120 beds.

The eICU Programme, often dubbed ‘a second pair of eyes on patients’, is designed to transform conventional ICUs in hospitals using real-time, 24/7 patient monitoring overseen by critical care specialists – in a similar way to an air-traffic controller’s station.

Patients are monitored remotely using proprietary clinical software and tools, such as two-way audio and high-definition video. This means a team of experienced intensivists and nurses can constantly monitor a patient’s condition, including during the night and at weekends. It allows the team to alert bedside physicians in a timely way to ensure that even subtle changes in vital signs, such as heart rate or blood pressure, are not missed.

“ICU is one of the most challenging areas of the hospital – it is where doctors and nurses respond to the sickest, most-vulnerable patients who can rapidly take a turn for the worse with little or no advance warning,” said Dr Richard Beale, consultant intensivist at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. “With Philips’ eICU Programme, the bedside clinical staff will have immediate access to a team of highly-skilled senior colleagues who provide an added layer of support to help save lives, reduce complications and decrease the length of ICU stays.”

Using cutting-edge technologies combined with our clinical expertise, we are confident that the introduction of the eICU Programme will help address the many challenges that the UK healthcare system and its hospitals are encountering

According to recent studies, the Philips eICU Programme is clinically proven to reduce the severity-adjusted hospital mortality rate by 27%. Fewer complications have also been seen to lead to a reduction of more than 23% in severity-adjusted length of stay for the eICU Program, which has resulted in helping hospital systems reduce costs and increase revenue.

Last year, the NHS announced it needed to save £20billion by 2015, a saving of about 4% a year, meaning hospitals will be looking at areas where they can improve efficiency while meeting patients’ expectations about increasing the quality and safety of care. Against this background, demand for critical care continues to rise, placing further pressure upon staff and hospitals.

“Improving patient care and better managing health care costs are equally important in the current financial circumstances,” said Brian Rosenfeld, chief medical officer for telehealth at Philips Healthcare.

“As a health and wellbeing company, we are committed to creating the future of healthcare through innovative solutions that improve patient outcomes, provide better value and expand access to care. Using cutting-edge technologies combined with our clinical expertise, we are confident that the introduction of the eICU Programme will help address the many challenges that the UK healthcare system and its hospitals are encountering, ultimately providing patients with the highest quality of care.”

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