Measuring tele-ICU impact: does it optimize quality outcomes for the critically ill patient?

Document Type


Publication Date



MaineHealth Vital Network

Journal Title

Journal of nursing management

MeSH Headings

Cost Savings, Critical Care, Critical Illness, Health Resources, Hospital Mortality, Humans, Intensive Care Units, Length of Stay, Patient Safety, Patient Satisfaction, Quality of Health Care, Telemedicine, Treatment Outcome


AIMS: To determine the relationship between tele-ICU (intensive care unit) implementations and improvement in quality measures and patient outcomes.

BACKGROUND: Tele-ICUs were designed to leverage scarce critical-care experts and promised to improve patient quality.

EVALUATION: Abstracts and peer-reviewed articles were reviewed to identify the associations between tele-ICU programmes and clinical outcomes, cost savings, and customer satisfaction.

KEY ISSUES: Few peer-reviewed studies are available and many variables in each study limit the ability to associate study conclusions to the overall tele-ICU programme. Further research is required to explore the impact of the tele-ICU on patient/family satisfaction. Research findings are highly dependent upon the level of ICU acceptance.

CONCLUSIONS: The tele-ICU, in collaboration with the ICU team, can be a valuable tool for the enhancement of quality goals although the ability to demonstrate cost savings is extremely complex. Studies clearly indicate that tele-ICU nursing vigilance can enhance patient safety by preventing potential patient harm.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING MANAGEMENT: Nursing managers and leaders play a vital part in optimizing the quality role of the tele-ICU through supportive modelling and the maximization of ICU integration.



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