Virtual ICU offers round-the-clock bedside care

August 6, 2001

A Baltimore company founded by physicians says that its system will allow round-the-clock remote monitoring of intensive care patients at lower costs but with higher levels of care. VISICU offers a remote data collection and distribution system called

A Baltimore company founded by physicians says that its system will allow round-the-clock remote monitoring of intensive care patients at lower costs but with higher levels of care.

VISICU offers a remote data collection and distribution system called Continuous Expert Care Network (CXCN) for intensivists. It supports the delivery of clinical care to individual ICU patients, whether the caregivers are physically present in the hospital or off-site. The service includes the transmission of digital images.

Drs. Michael Breslow and Brian Rosenfeld, who together managed Adult Critical Care at Johns Hopkins University Hospital for 15 years, founded their company on the idea that continuous, proactive intensivist management of the ICU could dramatically improve patient outcomes by preventing adverse events. A 24/7 standard could be implemented from a remote location, using network and telemedicine and teleradiology technologies. They expect to reduce mortality rates and lower cost per case as well.

The CXCN idea is based on a hub called eICU, from which intensivists remotely manage care at multiple linked ICUs. eICU intensivists can monitor real-time vital signs- including chest x-rays and electrocardiograms - from every bed on the network. Each ICU bed is linked to the eICU via a private, secure, T1 line.

The attending physician remains the attending of record and has ultimate authority. The goal of the CXCN program is to make intensivist expertise available to patients at all times.

Attending physicians can elect not to have intensivist coverage during off hours. If they do opt for CXCN support, CXCN intensivists provide consultative advice, monitor patients for new problems, and make sure that treatment plans are followed.

Their first operational eICU was installed at Sentara Healthcare in Norfolk, VA, last year. The company has announced an arrangement with University of California, Davis Medical Center to create the Sacramento Valley Critical Care Network.