NEHI Receives Grant to Study the Potential of Tele-ICU in California

January 25, 2011

CAMBRIDGE, MA (January 24, 2011) – NEHI announced today that it has been awarded a grant from the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) to study the potential of using telemedicine to improve the care delivered in intensive care units (ICUs) in California. The $214,000 grant will be used to assess the state’s current ICU capacity and examine whether tele-ICU technology can expand the availability of trained critical care specialists.

This project is particularly timely as the nation faces a growing staffing crisis of critical care physicians and nurses: their numbers are declining as the number of patients in ICUs keeps growing. Tele-ICU, a telemedicine technology, provides a potential solution to this problem because it enables critical care clinicians to monitor a higher volume of ICU patients in multiple, distant locations from a centralized command center. A single tele-ICU command center has the capacity to monitor up to 500 satellite beds.

“Our previous research has shown that tele-ICUs can have significant clinical and financial benefits, for patients, hospitals and payers,” said NEHI president Wendy Everett. “This project allows us to study if there are compelling opportunities for the technology in California. We are thrilled to receive the grant and look forward to working with the California HealthCare Foundation.”

This project is part of NEHI’s ongoing research on innovative health care technologies. NEHI has been studying tele-ICU technology since 2003 and recently released a report with the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative on the use of tele-ICUs in Massachusetts (Critical Care, Critical Choices: The Case for Tele-ICUs in Intensive Care). The report shows that when implemented effectively, tele-ICUs have the potential to save hundreds of additional lives and save hospitals and insurers millions of dollars.

“We are excited to build off the work completed by NEHI in Massachusetts to better understand how tele-ICUs can potentially improve care in Californians,” said Veenu Aulakh, Senior Program Officer at CHCF. “We believe telemedicine can be an important tool to improve access to care, improve quality and help make care more affordable.”

About NEHI
NEHI is an independent, nonprofit national network for health innovation that is dedicated to transforming health care for the benefit of patients and their families. In partnership with members from all across the health care system, NEHI conducts evidence-based research and stimulates policy change to improve the quality and the value of health care. Together with this unparalleled network of committed health care leaders, NEHI brings an objective, collaborative and fresh voice to health policy. For more information, visit www.nehi.net.

About California HealthCare Foundation
The California HealthCare Foundation works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians, supporting ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care. For more information, visit www.chcf.org.

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