Sutter Health First to Roll Out Two High-Tech ICU Monitoring Centers that Save Lives; Brings Groundbreaking System to Greater San Francisco Bay Area for First Time
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Mar. 24, 2005 - Sutter Health, a family of hospitals and physician organizations serving more than 100 communities in Northern California, has launched its advanced eICU® patient-safety system in the San Francisco Bay Area, becoming the first health network in the Western United States to bring online two eICU centers for constant monitoring of critically ill patients. Implemented in San Francisco in mid November and monitoring patients at the Davies campus of California Pacific Medical Center (CPMC) and St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco as well as at Novato Community Hospital in Marin County, the remote eICU center has been credited with helping save the lives of several patients in the hospitals' intensive care units. Sutter's expansion of its eICU program follows success in the greater Sacramento area, where its first eICU center has supported patients and caregivers since January 2003.
Studies point to around-the-clock coverage by physician specialists, called intensivists, as a key to better patient outcomes in the intensive care unit (ICU). In Sutter's eICU system, intensivists and specially trained nurses use early warning software and advanced video and remote monitoring to keep an even closer eye on critical-care patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The patients who benefit from this additional level of care and expertise could be in a hospital right down the street or hundreds of miles away.
"Physicians whose patients currently are being cared for by our ICU and eICU staff are applauding the system's merits," said Thomas Shaughnessy, M.D., intensivist and eICU medical director for Sutter's Bay Area region. "One physician has given full credit to eICU monitoring for immediately recognizing a life-threatening trend in his patient. In that case, the technology and our team made a vital difference when every minute was precious."
Sophisticated monitoring centers like Sutter's have been shown to reduce severity-adjusted hospital mortality for ICU patients by 27 percent and shorten ICU length of stay by 17 percent, according to Critical Care Medicine Magazine (2004; 30:31-38). At Sutter General Hospital in Sacramento, where Sutter's technology and team have been in place the longest, physicians have recognized improvements in care since adopting the system. In one example, hospital ICU mortality is down 17.3 percent from 2002, before the technology was implemented, to 2004.
Across the nation, eICU technology from Baltimore, Md. based VISICU, Inc. is installed or is being installed at only 30 health systems. Sutter Health is the only hospital system in California with eICU technology.
eICU Technology in Action
Sutter's eICU patient safety system provides constant, real-time monitoring of critical care patients and alerts medical staff of any physiological changes that may be precursors of life-threatening conditions. Intensivists and specially trained nurses – at a location outside the hospital - constantly check patients' changing vital signs and health conditions so they may help the hospital-based team intervene earlier to avoid adverse events and improve patient outcomes. Data also is transmitted to the hospitals' on-site ICU doctors and bedside nurses to ensure an immediate health status overview of each patient. The on-site hospital team and remote eICU team work together to provide patients with the best possible care.
"This technology and the specialized team behind it are making a vital difference in our patients' lives every minute of every day," according to Sutter Chief Medical Officer Gordon Hunt, M.D. "With the new eICU monitoring system, we are providing our medical staffs in urban and rural settings the best clinical tools available to help ensure quality patient care and better outcomes," he said.
All of Sutter's 25 Northern California hospitals expect to be connected to one of the eICU hubs by the end of 2006. Currently monitoring 31 beds at CPMC, St. Luke's and Novato Community Hospital, Sutter's San Francisco eICU hub also will support Peninsula Medical Center, the Pacific and California campuses of CPMC, Marin General Hospital, Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa and Sutter Lakeside Hospital during the coming year. By mid 2006, this new technology and the eICU team will monitor an additional 118 beds at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, San Leandro Hospital and Sutter Delta Medical Center. The Sacramento hub also will expand to assist affiliated hospitals throughout the region; beds monitored there will jump from 104 to 165.
With this aggressive implementation schedule, Sutter continues to push the organization's quality health care mission by implementing one of the most rigorous, patient safety programs in the nation. The network's $50 million investment in patient-safety technologies includes bar coding to help ensure the safe administration of medications. In addition, in 2004, Sutter Health announced it would deploy an electronic health record (EHR) system networkwide by the end of 2006. The inpatient-outpatient system, which will be one of the first in the United States to include secure patient access to EHR data, will be completed years ahead of the national EHR deadline set by the White House. Sutter also expects to be the first regional health care provider in Northern California to implement a comprehensive EHR system.