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March 28, 2011

Intensive Care Unit Telemedicine: Promises and Pitfalls

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Clinical Research, Investigation and Systems Modeling in Acute Illness Center, Department of Critical Care Medicine, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and Department of Health Policy and Management, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(6):495-496. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.23

Intensive care unit (ICU) telemedicine combines audiovisual technology and electronic medical records to provide critical care from a remote location. Intensive care unit telemedicine can take on many forms, ranging from targeted individual patient consultations1 to continuous off-site monitoring for entire ICUs.2 Touted as a bromide for the intensivist workforce shortage, the use of ICU telemedicine has rapidly expanded in recent years. According to one recent estimate, around 50 hospitals and health care systems in the United States currently use some form of ICU telemedicine, accounting for greater than 10% of the total ICU beds in this country.3