Objective: To examine clinical outcomes before and after implementation of a telemedicine program in the intensive care units of a five-hospital healthcare system.
Design: Observational study with the baseline period of 1 yr before the start of a telemedicine intensive care unit program implementation at each of 5 hospitals. The post periods are 1, 2, and 3 yrs after telemedicine intensive care unit program implementation at each hospital.
Setting: Ten adult intensive care units (114 beds) in five community hospitals in south Florida. A telemedicine intensive care unit program with remote 24/7 intensivist and critical care nurse electronic monitoring was implemented by a phased approach between December 2005 and July 2007.
Measurements and Main Results: Records from 24,656 adult intensive care unit patients were analyzed. Hospital length of stay, intensive care unit length of stay, hospital mortality, and Case Mix Index were measured. Severity of illness using All Patient Refined-Diagnosis Related Groups scores was used as a covariate. From the baseline year to year 3 postimplementation, the severity-adjusted hospital length of stay was lowered from 11.86 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 11.55–12.21) to 10.16 days (95% CI 9.80−10.53; p < .001), severity-adjusted intensive care unit length of stay was lowered from 4.35 days (95% CI 4.22–4.49) to 3.80 days (95% CI 3.65–3.94; p < .001), and the relative risk of hospital mortality decreased to 0.77 (95% CI 0.69–0.87; p < .001).
Conclusions: After 3 yrs of deployment of a telemedicine intensive care unit program, this retrospective observational study of mortality and length of stay outcomes included all cases admitted to an adult intensive care unit and found statistically significant decreases in severity-adjusted hospital length of stay of 14.2%, intensive care unit length of stay of 12.6%, and relative risk of hospital mortality of 23%, respectively, in a multihospital healthcare system.