Clinical and Financial Considerations for Implementing an ICU Telemedicine Program

Chest. 2014 Jun;145(6):1392-1396. doi: 10.1378/chest.13-0868.

Abstract

As the population in the United States increases and ages, the need to provide high-quality, safe, and cost-effective care to the most critically ill patients will be of great importance. With the projected shortage of intensivists, innovative changes to improve efficiency and increase productivity will be necessary. Telemedicine programs in the ICUs (tele-ICUs) are a successful strategy to improve intensivist access to critically ill patients. Although significant capital and maintenance costs are associated with tele-ICUs, these costs can be offset by indirect financial benefits, such as decreased length of stay. To achieve the positive clinical outcomes desired, tele-ICUs must be carefully designed and implemented. In this article, we discuss the clinical benefits of tele-ICUs. We review the financial considerations, including direct and indirect reimbursement and development and maintenance costs. Finally, we review design and implementation considerations for tele-ICUs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / economics
  • Critical Care / economics*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / economics*
  • Telemedicine / economics*
  • United States