Access to adequate health care is a pressing problem for rural area hospitals, where specialists are rare. Often, patients needing urgent intensive care are sent to bigger city hospitals to receive the medical attention they desperately need. FHN is addressing this issue by debuting its eICU program.
The new program is part of the telemedicine specialty, and is a collaboration with the University of Wisconsin e-Care in Madison, Wis. This allows for highly skilled care with a team of “intensivists,” who are physicians with advanced critical care board certification that specialize in treating the most seriously ill or injured patients.
Studies have shown patients whose care is managed by a specially trained intensivist in the intensive care unit (ICU) recover more quickly and achieve greater critical outcomes. This new form of telemedicine at FHN allows medical information to be electronically passed safely and securely from one site to another. It provides a connection between rural physicians and hospitals to specialists at larger hospitals in metropolitan areas.