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Westerly Hospital implements telemedicine capabilities for critical care patients

Monday, September 25, 2017

WESTERLY, RHODE ISLAND, September 25, 2017 – Westerly Hospital recently implemented telemedicine capabilities for critical care patients in its Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

Through Yale New Haven Health system’s (YNHHS) InSight Tele-ICU center located in New Haven, CT, experienced critical care doctors and nurses provide virtual support to the Westerly Hospital ICU team by monitoring patients and providing consultation between the hours of 7 pm and 7 am, 365 nights per year.

The InSight Tele-ICU team, all of whom are licensed in Rhode Island and credentialed at Westerly Hospital, monitor patients’ vital signs through a live feed called a “vitals bridge” from the patient’s bedside monitor. If there is a change in the patient’s vital signs, the Insight Tele-ICU team immediately notifies the nurse or doctor on site in the ICU. The Tele-ICU team also performs nightly “camera rounds” on the sickest patients with the bedside nurse, and is available to provide consultation or answer questions throughout the night.

The two-way audio video technology included installation of a video camera, microphone and speakers, and new Philips monitors in two patient rooms; a new telemedicine cart for use in the remaining 7 ICU rooms; and 20 iPhones with Mobile Heartbeat, a secure texting app used in many YNHHS units.

The technology protects patient privacy and does not record any audio or visual communications. Additionally, Insight Tele-ICU staff, who are specially trained in telemedicine, request permission from bedside staff to turn on the technology in all cases except for emergencies.

“With the added support of the InSight Team, our staff can provide our critical care patients with an even higher level of care, while continuing to provide the same exceptional, compassionate care in an intimate setting, which is what we are known for here at Westerly Hospital,” said Carrie Kenyon, RN, ICU nurse manager.

Westerly Hospital’s ICU is the fifth unit supported by InSight, currently totaling 72 patient rooms across YNHHS.

“The integration of the Tele-ICU service at Westerly Hospital allows patients who are more seriously ill to continue to receive the highest quality care close to home, rather than having to be transferred to a larger and more distant tertiary care center,” said Oliver Mayorga, MD, chief medical officer.

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