April 13, 2012 – Hallmark Health System’s (HHS) Melrose-Wakefield Hospital (MWH) is one of only 10 hospitals in Massachusetts using an eICU system to add another layer of quality and safety for patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). HHS has entered into a relationship with UMass Memorial Health Care to provide eICU to our most critical patients. The system takes advantage of the advanced electronic environment at MWH by providing a constant feed of data on ICU patients through a highly sophisticated critical care software program that provides the highly-trained MWH ICU physicians and nurses with an extra level of expert care, consultation and round-the-clock monitoring of critically-ill patients.
UMass physicians and nurses who are specially trained in intensive care medicine monitor MWH patients electronically through voice, data and video monitoring, 24-hours a day, seven days a week from a high-tech monitoring center in Worcester. This team works in concert with the MWH medical team to monitor vital signs such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rate, test results, nursing notes and other patient information over secure transmission lines.
Using two-way, high resolution video cameras at the patient’s bedside, the UMass team can speak directly with the MWH team or with the patient and family should a health concern arise. The MWH team can also contact UMass directly by pressing a button should they have an area of concern. The video monitors are not always on, but they can be activated in an instant when the UMass team is needed. Patients are treated with the same attentive, courteous HHS care on screen as they are by a live staff person.
UMass Memorial Medical Center is an 834-bed teaching hospital in Worcester and a leader in 21st century telemedicine. The Journal of American Medicine recently published a study, which showed that eICU’s improved care and outcomes for ICU patients by acting as a second set of eyes for on-site doctors and nurses.
Kellie Smith, RN, BSN, NE-BC, director of critical care and Medical 3 at MWH, explains, “In addition to the expert care we provide here, our ICU patients will have direct round-the-clock access to a teaching hospital’s expertise in intensive care. There is no substitute for hands-on direct patient care, but the eICU system can quickly alert staff to changes that indicate a patient is getting into trouble, faster than staff may be able to detect. Our outcomes were always very good, but this eICU program adds an extra level of safety and back-up.”
Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.