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London hospitals pioneer video link for ICU monitoring


Some patients in intensive care will be monitored by video link from a remote location, it has been announced.

Two hospitals in London will become the first in Europe to use the system within the next 12 months.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ will install the Philips eICU Program to enable patients to be monitored by specialists using clinical software, high definition video cameras and two-way audio communication.

The system will provide care to a minimum of 65 patients, with the potential to expand to cover 120.

According to Philips the technology has cut death rates by 27% and reduced the length of hospital stays by 23% in the USA, where it is used in around 300 hospitals.

Dr Richard Beale, clinical director of perioperative, critical care and pain services at Guy’s and St. Thomas’, said: “ICU (intensive care unit) 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.

“With Philips’ eICU Program, 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.”

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

“As a health and well-being company, we are committed to creating the future of health care 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 Program will help address the many challenges that the UK health care system and its hospitals are encountering, ultimately providing patients with the highest quality of care.”

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Readers' comments (7)

  • I feel the vast sums of money being spent on installing this e-whatever-it-is system would be better spent on recruiting a team of specialist Consultant Anaesthetists!

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  • Are there staff in ICU without proper training?
    Or is it that there are plans to cut staff working in ICU? Or is it that they are planning to replace nurses with Health Care assistants or/and reduce the number of doctors in ICU?
    Or is it another American way of Health Care invading and intwined with moving care to the Private sector? Or is it just some company getting their products sold without full consultation with more doctors and nurses? Or is it all the above reasons?

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  • more and more highly trained, competent and experienced individuals being replaced by extremely costly high tech.

    It is debatably better, more efficient and more reliable but has it really been proven to be so and could it possibly be cost saving and offer patients the same standards to fulfil their care needs?

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  • High tech is taking over, --supermarkets, banks, hospitals so more or us highly experienced folks will be on the dole.
    Mental Health issues on the increase, don't worry our GPs happy to put us on antidepressant.

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  • I would say it's getting the trained staff to the remote locations thats the problem. This system will probably prevent alot of unnessecary transfer of patients to tertiary ICU's. The video link will provide an opportunity for medical and nursiang staff to physically see the patient and have a collaborative conversation to make a decision thats best for the patient.

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  • how is the private sphere and dignity of the patient protected with this system?

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  • tinkerbell

    I think machines and humans can work in harmony to provide better care so long as it does not replace human contact or decrease the staffing levels needed to provide that quality care and doesn't end in more cutbacks to staffing levels, I hope this isn't another scam where the patient and staff get shafted, we should be able to work with new life saving technology, where specialist clinicians are able to be consulted if not available to be physically present on all occasions without losing the human touch.

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