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Virtual ICUs: Big Investment, Bigger Returns

Gienna Shaw, for HealthLeaders Media, September 15, 2010
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Resurrection's return on investment in the program—which costs the system about $6 million a year—is calculated using a variety of metrics, including length of stay. In the past two years, she says, the organization saved about 9,200 ICU days. Using a conservative formula of $1,250 a day, that's a savings of about $11.5 million over two years.

The system has seen a decrease in length of stay after a patient is released from the ICU, she adds?saving about 18,500 non-ICU days over two years. At $300 per day, that's an additional $5.6 million in savings.
There are also multiple patient safety benefits. "We prevented 16 falls in the month of May," she says.

"That's huge."

But the most important bottom line, Rufo says, is that the virtual ICU has saved an estimated 1,090 lives in that two-year period. Yes, the infrastructure and technology are expensive, she says. But the cost of poor quality, complications, and death are greater. "That's your return on investment," she says. "There's no price tag that can fit that. Quality of care is priceless."

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