Collaborating with colleagues through a telepresence robot, taking notes while the teacher lectures to your avatar while you remain comfortably at home, and receiving a prescription from a doctor you’veonly met on a video screen are all realities today. But certainly caring for the critically ill and their need for immediate attention still requires face-to-face, hands on interaction, right?
Wrong. Right now about 10 percent of ICU beds in the US are monitored in part from an off-hospital site. And the number of sites using remote monitoring are on the rise, increasing exponentially over the past 5 to 7 years. Tele-ICU monitoring involves satellite-linked video and communications links to electronic records so that the distantintensivists – doctors that specialize in intensive care – can watch over the patient in real-time, 24 hours a day. A video camera operates on-demand to observe the patient and communicate with them via a microphone and speakers. Through this two-way communication tele-intensivists can aid local intensivists by helping to enforce the patient’s daily goals, review their performance with them and respond to alarms if the local doctor has been called away.