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Aurora BayCare's electronic ICU (eICU) now online

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Hospital's critical care patients to benefit from advanced monitoring system

Physicians at Aurora BayCare Medical Center today announced that the hospital's new electronic intensive care unit, or eICU, is now online along with 5 other Aurora hospitals.

The system uses telemedicine technology, including early warning software and advanced video and electronic monitoring, to connect off-site critical care specialists to ICU patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The command and monitoring center for the Aurora system is in Milwaukee and Aurora BayCare has now joined the following hospitals already online: Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center and Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, St. Luke's South Shore in Cudahy, and the Aurora Medical Centers in Hartford and Kenosha.

The rest of Aurora's hospitals will eventually go online as well, linking a total of more than 200 intensive care beds throughout eastern Wisconsin. This network will give critical care specialists at Aurora BayCare easy access to statistical data on treatment plans and results for patients with similar diagnoses, a valuable tool in making quick decisions in the care of critically ill patients.

"Unlike other eICU models, we have the capability to compare outcomes in terms of patient care among the other ICUs within our system," said Raul Mendoza, M.D., Aurora BayCare's director of critical care. "That will provide us with ongoing feedback in our never-ending quest to be better."

The new eICU® system, developed by Baltimore-based VISICU Inc., provides high-tech tools that allow physician specialists to monitor critical care patients around the clock.

In an intensive care unit connected to the eICU system, patients' vital signs and laboratory data will be fed not only to on-site doctors and nurses but also to the remote monitoring station in Milwaukee. Staffed around the clock by physician specialists and critical care nurses, the eICU facility serves as a high-tech centralized patient safety net.

"The system constantly monitors patients for signs of trouble, allowing for the most rapid and effective response whenever necessary," said Paul Summerside, M.D., Aurora BayCare's president. "Virtual ICU monitoring and management doesn't replace the physicians and nurses at the bedside, but it does provide a further layer of patient care and safety."

The eICU software can detect even small changes in a patient's condition and alert specialists so that they can intervene before small problems become critical. The eICU system has been shown to reduce ICU mortality rates by 25%, decrease complications, shorten the length of hospital stays and reduce costs.

The eICU system also employs high-quality cameras and audio equipment in each patient room, allowing a remote physician specialist to make visual assessments of a patient's condition and communicate in real time with physicians and nurses on-site.

The technology addresses a continuing challenge for today's health care providers, and that is the shortage of physicians who specialize in intensive care medicine. The eICU system expands the reach of intensivists, allowing them to direct the care of patients at even smaller, rural hospitals, which typically would not have that level of expertise available.

Aurora BayCare Medical Center is a 126-bed, full-service tertiary care hospital offering trauma, neonatal, cardiac and medical critical care services. Located at 2845 Greenbrier Road on Green Bay's east side, the medical center opened in September 2001 as a joint effort of Aurora Health Care and BayCare Clinic.

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Contact: Mike Spofford (920-445-2165)

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