Tele-ICU Partnership Provides Solution

The Tift Regional Medical Center located south of Atlanta is a referral hospital for smaller facilities and serves a population of 250,000 people in eleven different counties. The Center has experienced extensive ICU staffing and recruitment challenges.

As a result, the Medical Center was forced to consistently turn away patients because their ICU was at maximum capacity. The hospital also lacked the capabilities to provide the recommended standard 24/7 monitoring by board certified critical care physicians.

In February 2011, Tift Regional chose Advanced ICU Care to provide the solution to the staffing shortage problem in their ICU. Advanced ICU Care also collaborated with the Tift Regional staff to implement new practices aimed to improve ICU operations. They collaborated on initiatives such as daily ventilator rounds and the use of smaller tidal volumes and blood utilization. In addition, Advanced ICU Care is helping with other clinical initiatives like hypothermia therapy and renal treatments.

A recent case study: “Tift Regional Medical Center” outlines the concrete clinical, financial, and operational improvements in the ICU. The study discusses how the partnership has eliminated diversions which in turn, stopped the loss of revenue from cases that were referred to the hospital’s ICU but had to go elsewhere.

According to Bill Guest, M.D., Vice President of Quality, Clinical Integration, and Medical Affairs and CMO at Tift Regional, “In the first year that we went live with Advanced ICU Care, we had 144 more patients that came through the unit than the previous year, yet we were never on diversion. This was the result of teamwork between our hospitalists, physicians, nurses, Advanced ICU Care, and the transfer center”.

Other impressive results from the partnership include:

  • Improved ICU mortality rate/patient length of stay
  • Revenue loss was eliminated as a result of not turning away ICU patients
  • Increased nurse retention and satisfaction
  • Patients experienced lower ICU length of stays
  • Increased expertise enable the ICU to admit more severe patient cases 24/7
  • Redistributing existing hospitalists and pulmonologists so their highest best use was obtained

 

To best sum up the success of the partnership, Tift Regional and Advanced ICU CEO Founder Dr. Mary Jo Gorman explains, “The collaboration has helped achieve a higher quality of patient care, improved operational and financial performance. We are better able to retain and recruit hospitalists, pulmonologists, and critical care nurses. This partnership is proof that telemedicine is a viable solution for hospitals that face diversion and a shortage of resources.”

To view the case study, go to www.icumedicine.com/Assets/case_studies/pdf/tift.pdf.

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