August 3, 2017

Jennie Stuart Medical Center, VUMC launch teleICU patient care

Jennie Stuart Medical Center (JSMC) has launched teleICU technology that provides its doctors and their patients real-time access to Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) specialists.

From left, Liza Weavind, MBBCh, MMHC, Christopher Hughes, M.D., Pratik Pandharipande, M.D., Robert Freundlich, M.D., and Arna Banerjee, MBBS, pose with a VGo — a robot used for teleICU communications between hospitals. (photo by John Russell)

Jennie Stuart Medical Center (JSMC) has launched teleICU technology that provides its doctors and their patients real-time access to Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) specialists.

VGo robotic technology allows specialists with advanced training in critical care medicine at VUMC to evaluate patients in the intensive care unit of the Hopkinsville, Kentucky, hospital in real time, as well as communicate with patients, nurses and physicians, through two-way audiovisual video streaming. VUMC intensivists can review their vital signs and place notes and orders in their medical records to facilitate management of critically ill patients when their physicians are unable to be at the bedside.

The technology enhances the decision-making process about treatment protocols and patient transfers. It allows JSMC and VUMC to collaborate around-the-clock on specific patient cases.

“We think our patients and their families will benefit tremendously,” said Eric Lee, President and Chief Executive Officer, Jennie Stuart Medical Center. “Not only do they have the convenience and benefit of staying in their local community at Jennie Stuart Medical Center and being cared for by clinical staff who are their family, friends and neighbors, they also have the benefit of that virtual connection with the great specialists that are part of Vanderbilt University Medical Center.”

JSMC is the first hospital in the Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network to implement teleICU technology. The Network is the region’s largest physician-led organization of like-minded health care professionals who are developing solutions to improve health and increase value to patients, providers, employers and other consumers of health care services. The Network’s goal is to transform health care delivery across the Mid-South by bringing together clinicians, hospitals, employers, patients and insurance providers in a structure that encourages collaboration to deliver high-quality, cost-efficient care.

“We are excited to partner with Jennie Stuart Medical Center physicians and nurses to put a technological safety net around the critically ill patients in their ICU,” said Liza Weavind, MBBCh, MMHC, professor of Anesthesiology and Surgery, who spearheaded the teleICU initiative. “It is a privilege as a VUMC intensivist to use the teleICU platform to facilitate patient care and help support the JSMC team in their efforts to provide excellent and safe patient care around the clock. We look forward to successful implementation and some great patient outcomes from this initiative.”

New technologies have made these initiatives possible, said Warren Sandberg, M.D., Ph.D., chair of Anesthesiology for VUMC.

“TeleICU, like many other technologies in health care, has benefited over the past decade from the explosion of mobile technology and increasing miniaturization of computers,” Sandberg said.

“This allows a TeleICU project like the one with Jennie Stuart to proceed with an easy, modest infrastructure addition. It brings the project back to focusing on the people: both the physicians and especially the patients.”

In addition to joining the Network in May 2016, JSMC and VUMC also forged a strategic affiliation agreement to form new clinical programs and services to be shared by the two institutions.

“We have benefited from working with the expertise and clinical teams at Vanderbilt over the past year on a number of key initiatives as part of our affiliation,” Lee said. “This teleICU affiliation represents the first clinical joint venture that has come to fruition between our entities.”

The implementation of the teleICU technology at JSMC has no effect on the staffing of physicians in its intensive care unit, but it does give them additional support for complex medical cases.

“Our patients and their families can benefit from the expertise that intensivists and specialists at Vanderbilt provide with the convenience and security of being home without all the travel and traffic congestion that come with driving into the Nashville market for medical care,” Lee said. “We really see this as a win-win for everyone involved.”