Caring for very sick patients...from miles away. It's happening at Geisinger's Wyoming Valley and CMC facilities with something called the EICU, or Electronic Intensive Care Unit.
Patients in intensive care units at CMC or Wyoming Valley will now be monitored not only by their physicians and critical care nurses, but also by staff miles away near Danville.
"No doctor can be in a hospital 24 hours a day. This is there as backup," explained Dr. Anthony Aquilina. He is Chief Medical Officer at Geisinger CMC in Scranton. He met us to explain how the EICU works.
Every patient in the ICU will be connected to critical care doctors and nurses at a command center near Danville, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Critical care patients can develop problems very quickly, often in the middle of the night, and a rapid response to problems sometimes is the difference between saving their life and becoming more critically ill," said Dr. Aquilina.
Critical care staff will have complete access to a patient: audio and video, test results, and full medical records. In other words, they'll be able to see and hear everything. Dr. Aqulina notes, hospitals that already have the technology report significantly lower death rates.
"I've been practicing medicine 25 years, and in my 25 years I think this is one of the most exciting and potentially life-saving advancements I've ever seen," he noted.