Telemedicine reduces inter-hospital ICU transfers of critically ill patients

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According to the study published, researchers found ICU telemedicine is associated with decrease in inter hospital transfers, especially in patients with severe illness.

According to the data collected, researchers compared 52 ICUs in Veterans Affairs hospitals that implemented telemedicine support between 2011 and 2015. Researchers found 553,523 ICU admissions in total. In the pre and post telemedicine implementation periods, hospitals decreases rate of interhospital transfers from telemedicine hospitals compared to the non telemedicine facilities. After adjustment for demographics, illness severity, admission diagnosis and facility ICU telemedicine associated with the overall reduction in transfers.

This reduction affects patients in all categories of high illness severity, moderate and moderate to high. Specially transfers decreases in non surgical patients and in patients admitted with gastrointestinal and respiratory diagnoses.

The authors said, “ICU telemedicine may have helped triage and not transfer patients that could be appropriately treated in local ICUs by providing remote access to critical care expertise”.

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