An extra level of care for critically ill patients
Critical Connections at a Glance
- Rather than bedside alarms, the system alerts caregivers to physiological trends and abnormal laboratory results
- Real-time information, including interactive audio and video of the patient
- Proven to reduce mortality in the intensive care and hospital settings
- Improves care by reducing rates of preventable complications
Owensboro Health Regional Hospital provides 24-hour remote monitoring for critically ill patients. This electronic system, sometimes called an eICU, enables a team of critical care experts to continuously watch each patient, measuring:
- Vital signs
- Blood test results
- Other information from bedside monitors
The Critical Connections team also uses video technology to examine patients and talk directly to the in-room staff. An alert button is available for family members to contact the team.
A Critical Partnership
Owensboro Health provides the Critical Connections service through a partnership with The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, where the critical care team is located. The program provides an extra layer of care but does not replace bedside nursing and in-person physician visits.
Meeting a Need
Another advantage for patients is that a critical care physician—called an intensivist—joins the remote team during the overnight hours (7 p.m. to 7 a.m.). Having a specialist on hand means expert patient assessment and quick response time for critical care patients.
With intensivists in short supply in the United States, programs like Critical Connection help to provide adequate staffing for critical care units like Owensboro Health.
Questions and Answers
The following questions and answers are provided courtesy of The Christ Hospital's Critical Connections website. For more information, be sure to visit their website.
How does my physician work with Critical Connections?
The patient’s family physician or surgeon selects the level of care they wish the Critical Connections team to provide. This may range from monitoring only, to full service – where Critical Connections physicians make decisions about treatment when the patient’s physician is not present in the ICU.
Regardless of the circumstances, Critical Connections physicians talk frequently with the patient’s physician about his or her plan of medical care.
The patient’s physician makes all final decisions regarding care and treatment plans.
Because this physician and the Critical Connections physician discuss medical status and treatment plans daily, the Critical Connections physician may modify treatment according to the attending physician’s plan when he or she is not present in the hospital.
Why are cameras necessary to monitor my loved one?
Physicians and nurses only view patients when necessary to see how they are doing. Just as your physician needs to see patients in person, Critical Connections physicians and nurses also need to “make rounds” to check on patients.
Cameras are located above the door of each patient’s room. When the camera is turned off, it faces inward toward the wall. When turned on, the camera faces the patient and a green light comes on.
What about patient privacy?
Several measures have been taken:
- Access to information is limited to those with hospital authorization.
- Information is not released to anyone other than those providing medical care.
- No temporary or permanent recording is made from any camera or microphone.
- Sending patient information to/from the Critical Connections Center occurs only over private phone lines. Information is NOT transmitted over the Internet.
- A scrambling technique is applied to all information (encryption) to make it unreadable as it travels across the phone lines. When the information reaches the Critical Connections Center, the technique is reversed so that physicians and nurses can read it. Data is sent from the Critical Connections Center to the hospital in the same way.
- All personnel enter the Critical Connections Center through secured access.
- Critical Connections physicians use a secured personal identification number (PIN) as an authorized electronic signature instead of a written signature when ordering treatments.
- These numbers are private and periodically changed to ensure security.
Director of Critical Care, Owensboro Health
“This system allows us to identify trends that could signal a patient decline—before they are recognized at the bedside. It’s a great resource for our nursing staff to improve the care we provide.”
For more information, visit Contact Us or call Owensboro Health Regional Hospital Critical Care at (270) 417-2200.