Doctors and nurses monitor dozens of intensive-care patients in seven hospitals 24 hours a day via flat-screen computers in a command center at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa.
High-tech cameras in ICU rooms at the hospitals allow the doctors to check a patient’s breathing, analyze their pupils, read the medicine labels on IV bags or the pressure gauges at their bedsides — and even give patients and their family encouragement through a speaker in the wall. In the near future, two-way cameras will allow patients to see their doctors. For now, a small “R2D2”-shaped camera moves around the room.
There are 126 beds that can be monitored now from iCare. They are at Banner Estrella Medical Center and Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center Neuro ICU, both in Phoenix; Banner Desert’s cardiac ICU, Banner Mesa Medical Center, Banner Baywood Medical Center and Banner Baywood Heart Hospital, all in Mesa; and North Colorado Medical Center in Greeley, Colo. In the next two to three years, Banner plans to provide the telemedicine care to all of its 391 ICU rooms.
Nurses say the extra eyes focused on their most critical patients have not only boosted care for those patients but even provided mentoring for new nurses. It helps them prevent patients from pulling out tubes or standing up too quickly.
Doctors can analyze late-night tests. One doctor in the center helped health care workers in Colorado save a man whose lung had collapsed by giving directions over the in-room speaker