The Mayo Clinic—already a world-renowned medical facility—has boosted its level of patient care another notch by building a central telemedicine hub that monitors several Intensive Care Units at once. Research-heavy Mayo Clinic has been developing real-world solutions designed to be implemented in various healthcare settings nationwide, and this innovative ICU hub represents a major step forward by allowing physicians and patients to converse in real time via video conferencing.
Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the telemedicine hub links local ICU specialists with remote ICUs in eight other hospitals across the country. Operating around the clock, the Rochester physicians can access all of the information at each remote hospital and can link directly to the staff at those hospitals. Removed from the activity of a working ICU, the Rochester experts are able to focus on observation to offer a different perspective on what’s happening.
The remote monitoring program has succeeded beyond imagination, leading to considerable improvements in mortality rates—as much as 73% lower than expected in some locations.
The Mayo Clinic has other telemedicine projects in the works, such as concussion monitoring and treatment, telestroke programs, remote consultations with specialists for areas like newborn resuscitation, and telepresence robots to visit faraway hospitals and patient homes. A proprietary app allows patients to schedule appointments or seek information on topics including fitness and nutrition, bringing telemedicine into the average person’s daily life.
Of these initiatives, the central hub overseeing ICUs is probably the most compelling application of telemedicine due to the dramatic results and the anxiety that typically surrounds patients in ICUs. Now, to really make an impact on healthcare delivery, all we have to do is increase the scale of the telemedicine hub and adapt it to other medical fields.
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