As our population ages and the demand for high-level intensive care unit (ICU) services increase, the ICU physician supply continues to lag. In addition, hospitals, physician groups, and patients are demanding rapid access for the highest level of expertise in the care of critically ill patients. Telemedicine in the ICU combined with remote patient monitoring has been increasingly touted as a model of care to increase efficiencies and quality of care. Telemedicine in the ICU provides the potential to connect critically ill patients to sophisticated specialty care on a 24/7 basis, even for those hospitalized in rural locations where access to timely specialty consultations are uncommon. Research on the use of telemedicine in the ICU has suggested improved outcomes, such as reductions in mortality, reductions in length of stay, and greater adherence to evidence-based guidelines. Although the clinical footprint of telemedicine in ICU has grown over the past 20 years, there has been a relative slowing of implementation. This review examines the clinical evidence supporting the use of telemedicine in the ICU and discusses the impact on clinical efficacy and costs of care. Additionally, we review the current hurdles to more rapid adoption, including the significant financial investment, different models of care affecting the return on investment, and the varied cultural attitudes that impact the success and acceptance of care models using telemedicine in the ICU.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine