Hospital mortality, length of stay, and preventable complications among critically ill patients before and after tele-ICU reengineering of critical care processes

JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2175-83. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.697. Epub 2011 May 16.


Context: The association of an adult tele-intensive care unit (ICU) intervention with hospital mortality, length of stay, best practice adherence, and preventable complications for an academic medical center has not been reported.

Objective: To quantify the association of a tele-ICU intervention with hospital mortality, length of stay, and complications that are preventable by adherence to best practices.

Design, setting, and patients: Prospective stepped-wedge clinical practice study of 6290 adults admitted to any of 7 ICUs (3 medical, 3 surgical, and 1 mixed cardiovascular) on 2 campuses of an 834-bed academic medical center that was performed from April 26, 2005, through September 30, 2007. Electronically supported and monitored processes for best practice adherence, care plan creation, and clinician response times to alarms were evaluated.

Main outcome measures: Case-mix and severity-adjusted hospital mortality. Other outcomes included hospital and ICU length of stay, best practice adherence, and complication rates.

Results: The hospital mortality rate was 13.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.9%-15.4%) during the preintervention period compared with 11.8% (95% CI, 10.9%-12.8%) during the tele-ICU intervention period (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.40 [95% CI, 0.31-0.52]). The tele-ICU intervention period compared with the preintervention period was associated with higher rates of best clinical practice adherence for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (99% vs 85%, respectively; OR, 15.4 [95% CI, 11.3-21.1]) and prevention of stress ulcers (96% vs 83%, respectively; OR, 4.57 [95% CI, 3.91-5.77], best practice adherence for cardiovascular protection (99% vs 80%, respectively; OR, 30.7 [95% CI, 19.3-49.2]), prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (52% vs 33%, respectively; OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.79-2.70]), lower rates of preventable complications (1.6% vs 13%, respectively, for ventilator-associated pneumonia [OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.09-0.23] and 0.6% vs 1.0%, respectively, for catheter-related bloodstream infection [OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.27-0.93]), and shorter hospital length of stay (9.8 vs 13.3 days, respectively; hazard ratio for discharge, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.33-1.56]). The results for medical, surgical, and cardiovascular ICUs were similar.

Conclusion: In a single academic medical center study, implementation of a tele-ICU intervention was associated with reduced adjusted odds of mortality and reduced hospital length of stay, as well as with changes in best practice adherence and lower rates of preventable complications.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Critical Illness / mortality*
  • Critical Illness / therapy
  • Critical Pathways*
  • Diagnosis-Related Groups
  • Female
  • Guideline Adherence*
  • Hospital Bed Capacity, 500 and over
  • Hospital Mortality*
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / prevention & control
  • Intensive Care Units / standards*
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient Care Team
  • Pneumonia, Ventilator-Associated
  • Pressure Ulcer / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Telemedicine*
  • Venous Thrombosis / prevention & control