Telemedicine in a Dutch intensive care unit: A descriptive study of the first results

J Telemed Telecare. 2016 Apr;22(3):141-7. doi: 10.1177/1357633X15590751. Epub 2015 Jul 2.


Introduction: Tele-intensive care (teleIC) can be used to increase the level of care in the intensive care unit (ICU) with the tele-intensivist being at a remote site. In this study we describe the implementation and outcomes, including patient and family satisfaction, of the first Dutch teleIC.

Methods: In a retrospective analysis the patient characteristics are described with a focus on patient outcomes and patient and family satisfaction. The teleIC started on 6 December 2010 in an ICU with three beds. Data for all admitted patients were collected from 1 January 2011 through 31 December 2013 from available systems. Severity of disease (APACHE IV) and standardized mortality ratios (SMR) were available over the complete calendar years 2012 and 2013. A prospective self-made survey of patient and family satisfaction was performed over a 14-month period after the implementation of teleIC.

Results: In 2012 and 2013, 556 patients were admitted. The number of operating room recovery patients in the ICU declined over time. One hundred and seven patients were transferred to a higher-level ICU (19%). The SMR for non-transferred patients was 0.73 (95% CI (confidence interval) 0.54-0.98) and 0.66 (95% CI (confidence interval) 0.40-1.02) for transferred patients. These numbers are in line with national data. Thirty-six percent of family and 38% of the patients responded to the survey and showed a positive response concerning communication within the tele IC setting.

Conclusion: Implementation of teleIC in a Dutch situation was successful and showed favourable results in patient outcomes and the satisfaction of patients and family members.

Keywords: Netherlands; Telemedicine; intensive care; outcome; satisfaction; teleIC.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Care / methods*
  • Critical Care / standards
  • Family / psychology
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Telemedicine* / instrumentation
  • Telemedicine* / methods
  • Telemedicine* / standards