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USDA Awards $1.5 Million to Expand Access to High-Quality Critical Care in Rural Communities
Date:11/11/2008

recently recognized Maine's efforts to expand critical care access in rural communities by awarding Maine Health and Pen Bay Health with its Partnership in Excellence award on September 4, 2008.

Rural hospitals are often only equipped to stabilize trauma and critically ill patients before transferring them to the nearest full-service metropolitan hospital for specialty care. eICU Programs are closing this coverage gap. Physicians and critical care nurses, staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week at an eICU hub, can now assist bedside caregivers in the diagnosis, treatment and management of trauma and critically ill patients.

"It's like OnStar for nurses," said eFocus Operations Director Kim Sieck, RN, MSN, CCRN. "They can push the button and we can be readily available with the resources and support they may need."

The eICU Program, patented by VISICU, is in use in more than 200 hospitals around the country.

How the VISICU eICU Program works:

-- The hospital patient monitoring equipment transmits patient vital signs to critical care specialists in a central monitoring eICU hub.

-- Internal algorithms alert specialists when patient conditions worsen to allow for early intervention and treatment.

-- Specialists monitor procedures, direct treatment and immediately alert Emergency Department and ICU personnel when intervention may be required.

-- Video-conferencing/Video-assessment equipment enables live interaction between the eICU team and those at the bedside.

"It gives us the opportunity to keep more critically ill patients close to home and family, while still being a part of a critical care environment with 24/7 monitoring by specialists," said Darcy Behrendt, Chief Nurse Executive at Community Memorial Hospital which is being serviced by the Alegent Health eICU Center.

"These grants are helping to bring the resources found in large metropolitan hospitals to rural communities," said Frank Sampl
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SOURCE VISICU
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