Thanks to telemedicine, ICU patients may soon have more timely access to specialists and more specialty care after discharge from the ICU environment. At Hawaii’s North Hawaii Community Hospital (NHCH), patients who need critical care are enjoying the benefits of the tele-ICU system that allows patients to receive state-of-the-art care without the treatment delays caused by inter-island transfers to the main facility on Oahu. Meanwhile, at Indiana University, researchers are currently conducting trials for elderly patients who experienced delirium during their ICU visits to determine whether training and exercises delivered via telemedicine can improve the patients’ quality of life.
In Hawaii, providers at the Queen’s Health Center (QHC) ICU can conduct virtual exams, review vital signs, and view charts for patients at NHCH through telemedicine systems and connected stethoscopes in each patient room. This allows the specialists to remain at QHC while evaluating patients in their home communities. The medical facility expects to see an improvement in outcomes and a reduction in mortality.
In Indiana, researchers at Indiana University and the Regenstrief Institute are in the midst of a 12-week pilot program that uses telemedicine to deliver physical exercise programs and cognitive training to elderly patients after their discharge from ICU. The training is personalized for each patient and can increase in intensity throughout the program as needed. The goals of the project are to increase the quality of life for the patients, reduce symptoms of dementia, depression, and anxiety, and increase compliance with follow through for therapy appointments after ICU discharge.
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