Banner Health provides ICU care remotely
Banner Health is among more than three dozen hospital systems nationwide with "eICUs," which provide remote care for the most critically ill patients. Banner's system, which began about five years ago, includes a command center at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa that links doctors and nurses to 15 hospitals and about 450 beds in Arizona, Colorado and Nebraska. Starting this year, doctors in Tel Aviv and Southern California also joined the system that remotely transmits critical patient information such as heart and breathing rates. The information allows the remote critical-care doctors to guide and work with doctors and nurses who actually provide the hands-on treatment. The system, which Banner calls iCare, is available to every patient in intensive care, but patients are offered a chance to opt out when they are admitted. By now, Banner doctors and nurses have become accustomed to working with virtual counterparts; Banner started iCare in early 2006. Medical specialists have said in the past, though, that while they welcome the help and ability for remote doctors to quickly detect problems, they worry about turning patients over to doctors they don't know.
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