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Sunday, March 22, 2009

TweetThis! Technological advancements in the healthcare industry - Cameras monitor hospital patients

Called iCare, Banner Gateway Medical Center (BGMC) in Gilbert - Arizona has become the first in America (and possible the first in the World) to institute the use of cameras to remotely monitor it's patients.
Banner Health has partnered with Philips VISICU, the company that holds the patent on the eICU Program currently used to remotely monitor most of Banner’s ICU patients across the country. iCare extends the eICU technology that is currently monitoring critical care patients. This new care model partners nurses in a remote monitoring center with nurses at the bedside for the provision of minute-by-minute care - BannerHealth - Gateway News
The use of cameras to get into the patients room enables the person behind the camera, a Registered Nurse (RN) or Nurse Practitioner (NP) to help the floor
Nurse by responding to patient's needs that does not necessitate the physical presence of a Nurse. Such things as filling out the admission forms, doing health education, giving discharge instructions etc can be done by the camera room RN.  Also, when a patient agrees to be hooked up to the monitors, the RN in the camera room can read all the vital signs and chart them in the patient's hospital documents. More over, the camera room RN can review patient's medication and laboratory results and alert the floor RN on any abnormalities after she has gone through the patient's chart to verify if the patient has plan of care ready to tackle that laboratory or abnormal test result; if for some reason there is no plan of intervention for the problem at hand, the camera room RN can initiate talks with the NP for intervention and if the NP is not available, then the managing/attending physician will be called for intervention, thus saving the floor RN time s/he would otherwise have to use for that call. The other advantage of this technology is that, the camera room RN can always take care of the consults on behalf of the floor RN thus making flow of care much more smooth with minimal interruptions.

Present in the camera room is also the Unit secretary whose job is also huge in terms of initiating/placing calls to physician, answering the call lights from patient's rooms, charting vital signs e.g. for post operative patients, unstable patients etc., they can also 'camera in' in patient's room to help on things that does not necessitate the RN or NP to intervene.

Lastly in the room is also the case manager during the day whose job in integrated to the patient care during admission, stay and smooth discharge of a patient.

How does the camera work?
Before entering the room, the camera room RN will ring into a patient's room with an electronic doorbell (like the 'ding' sound you hear in your computer if you were using a chat/messenger) and ask if they can "camera in". If the patient says 'yes' then the RN will enable the view, if the patient declines, the RN will respect the privacy and personal choice thus will not 'camera in' unless it was necessary to do so for 'life threatening issues that required an intervention'. The cameras can zoom in tight enough to for the RN to be able to read the patients arm band, IV fluid setting numbers in the machine, Vital Signs, Oxygen floors etc.

What is in the room?
A camera that does not have a recording capability.
A mic & head phone.
Computer stations each hooked to 6 -8 screens
Monitors for alerts on abnormal Vital signs that records also some form of 'EKG' strips that can be reviewed to guide if an EKG should be done for more evaluation or not.

What is the expected outcome?
To catch problems early and thus increase patient's safety.
To help the hospital deal with its nursing shortage.

This short video clip seen here was recorded by (therefore courtesy & property of) ABC15 when they visited the hospital a few days ago.

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