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Rural Maryland Hospitals Form Unprecedented Collaborative to Improve Patient Care
Date:4/28/2008

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, Innovative eICU(R) Program Unites Hospitals

to Reduce Critical Care Physician Shortage, Improve Care with VISICU

Technology

WASHINGTON, April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, six hospitals serving patients in rural Maryland announced plans to improve the quality of patient care by implementing the VISICU eICU(R) Program in each of their intensive care units. Made possible by a $3 million grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), the eICU(R) Program marries medicine and technology to bring critical care physicians, also known as intensivists, to areas facing a shortage in this specialty.

Studies have shown improved patient outcomes and decreased lengths of stay for patients in intensive care units (ICU) managed by critical care physicians. Yet many hospitals - especially those in rural America - do not have the resources to keep these kinds of physicians on site 24 hours a day.

The six hospitals, known collectively as Maryland eCare, united two years ago to find a solution to the critical care physician shortage. It is the largest collaboration of independent hospitals in the country - and the only such partnership in the state of Maryland - to establish this model of care for its patients.

"Bringing this technology to rural Maryland means patients and families will have better care close to home," said Dr. Marc T. Zubrow, Medical Director of Maryland eCare and Director of Critical Care Medicine at Christiana Care Health System (Wilmington, Del.) which houses its own eICU(R) Program. "This program enables us to act quickly and prevent complications. It leads to improved patient outcomes, getting patients home with their families more quickly and more safely."

In the ICU, patient conditions can change very quickly. Complementing local ICU care, eICU critical care physicians and nurses - based at Christiana Care's eICU monitoring center - closely watch p
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SOURCE CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield and Maryland eCare
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