FOLSOM — The Mercy Telehealth Network, which connects physicians to patients through state-of-the-art wireless, remote telehealth robots, is providing tele-ICU services at Mercy Hospital of Folsom.
The Intensive Care Unit, or ICU, is a designated area of a hospital dedicated to the care of patients who are seriously ill or injured, most of which are life-threatening and need constant, close monitoring and support from equipment and medication.
The Mercy Telehealth Network, through the use of an RP 7 wireless remote robot at Mercy Hospital of Folsom, can “beam in” critical care specialists or intensivists to make the rounds on patients in Mercy Folsom’s ICU. The physician operates the robot at control stations or “hubs” located at Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento or Mercy San Juan Medical Center in Carmichael.
The robot has a television monitor as a face and is equipped with a camera and microphone, enabling the physician to see and hear the patient and family members in real time. The physician can receive electronic clinical data on patient progress and communicate to providers at the hospital to make any necessary changes in care. In addition, the patient can see the physician’s face on the television monitor and also hear his/her voice on a speaker.
“This is great news for patients,” said Mohammed Shaikh, MD, pulmonologist and critical care specialist at Mercy Hospital of Folsom. “The telehealth technology makes it possible for physicians to be in two places at the same time, instead of fighting traffic to get here. Patients benefit because they’re receiving the constant monitoring and care that they need in the ICU.”
A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association confirms the positive contributions made by tele-ICU programs, including improvements in mortality, lengths of stay and complication rates.
The Mercy Telehealth Network has been providing telestroke services to patients in Mercy Folsom’s emergency department since 2009.