San Juan Health Service District will open a new Critical Care Unit (CCU) as part of a partnership between San Juan Hospital and Intermountain Healthcare.
The CCU will provide an extra level of support to critically ill patients through TeleHealth Technology. With this secure interactive audio and video system, critical care patients and their caregivers now have 24/7 support from the Critical Care TeleHealth Center at Intermountain’s Supply Chain Center in Midvale, UT.
Experienced critical care doctors and nurses will serve as a second set of eyes from 300 miles away, supporting the local care team as they proactively monitor the vital signs and data of critically ill patients.
The program allows San Juan Hospital doctors and nurses to consult with critical care specialists through cameras and audio links in two rooms, connected 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
San Juan Hospital operated a CCU approximately ten years ago but it closed when the internist left the local health care system.
Local health care officials state that the CCU will allow a larger number of critically ill patients to receive top level care without being transported to facilities far from home.
“Intermountain’s goal is to be a partner on San Juan Hospital’s care team as they care for complex and really sick patients,” says Dr. Bill Beninati, the Medical Director of Intermountain’s Critical Care TeleHealth Program.
“We work directly with the bedside medical team to determine the appropriate course of action for each patient, serve as real-time clinical decision support, ensure best practices and consistency of care in a high stress environment, and provide a safety net for bedside staff and patients,” said Dr. Beninati.
“If a patient needs to be transferred, we’ll work with your doctors and nurses to help prepare the patient for the smoothest transfer possible.”
“San Juan Hospital is pleased to offer these additional services to our patients,” said Clayton Holt, San Juan Health Services CEO. “Since TeleHealth has been installed in Intermountain’s facilities, the data has shown reduced lengths of stay and improved mortality rates in hospitals like ours.
“We’re looking forward to seeing those kinds of results here in San Juan County,” added Holt.
Intermountain Healthcare, like many healthcare systems and hospitals across the country, is implementing this innovative technology to address some formidable challenges, including:
· An aging population and increased number of critical care patients.
· A projected shortage of intensivist physicians and critical care nurses.
· An environment of healthcare change and reforms to the payment system.
· Requests from rural hospitals for clinical expertise and support that would allow patients to remain in their local critical care units when appropriate.