Intensive care patients in two London hospitals will be monitored by video link from a remote location, it was announced today.
Guy's and St Thomas' hospitals will become the first in Europe to use the system within the next 12 months when they install the Philips eICU Program to enable patients to be monitored by specialists using clinical software, high definition video cameras and two-way audio communication.
According to Philips the technology has cut death rates by 27% and reduced the length of hospital stays by 23% in the USA, where it is used in around 300 hospitals.
Dr Richard Beale, clinical director of perioperative, critical care and pain services at Guy's and St. Thomas', said: "ICU (intensive care unit) is one of the most challenging areas of the hospital; it is where doctors and nurses respond to the sickest, most vulnerable patients who can rapidly take a turn for the worse with little or no advance warning.
"With Philips' eICU Program, the bedside clinical staff will have immediate access to a team of highly skilled senior colleagues who provide an added layer of support to help save lives, reduce complications and decrease the length of ICU stays."
The system will provide care to a minimum of 65 patients, with the potential to expand to cover 120.
The system allows physicians, nurses, and health care executives to work directly with doctors and patients at the customer hospitals and computer systems using sophisticated algorithms help detect and advise eICU clinicians of important trends and changes in patients’ conditions.
Brian Rosenfeld, chief medical officer for Telehealth at Philips Healthcare, said: "Improving patient care and better managing health care costs are equally important in the current financial circumstances.
"As a health and well-being company, we are committed to creating the future of health care through innovative solutions that improve patient outcomes, provide better value and expand access to care.
“Using cutting edge technologies combined with our clinical expertise, we are confident that the introduction of the eICU Program will help address the many challenges that the UK health care system and its hospitals are encountering, ultimately providing patients with the highest quality of care."