Sutter Health First on West Coast to Roll Out eICU® Program that Saves Lives
SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 10, 2003 - Sutter Health announced today that Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento has implemented advanced patient-safety technology from Baltimore, Md.-based VISICU, Inc. at its Sutter General campus, becoming the first on the West Coast to employ this technology-based monitoring program that can save patients' lives. Implemented in late January after months of planning by Sutter nurses and physicians, the eICU® system has been credited with helping save the lives of several patients in the hospital's intensive care unit.
Studies point to around-the-clock coverage by physician specialists, called intensivists, as the key to better patient outcomes in the ICU. In Sutter's eICU system, intensivists and specially trained nurses use early warning software and advanced video and electronic monitoring to keep an even closer eye on critical-care patients seven days a week.
"Physicians whose patients are currently being cared for by our ICU and eICU staff are applauding the system's merits," said John Mesic, M.D., chief medical officer and vice president of Clinical Integration for the Sutter Health Sacramento Sierra Region. "One physician has given full credit to eICU monitoring for immediately recognizing a life threatening condition in his patient who needed to return to surgery. In that case, the technology and our team made a vital difference when every minute was precious."
"The eICU team works with our on-site staff to provide another set of watchful eyes, constantly checking early warning indicators, known as Smart Alert™, for any sign of trouble," said Kim Meyers, Sutter Medical Center's ICU nursing director. "Our nurses are thrilled to be contributing to the program's success."
Across the nation, intensivists are in short supply. Fewer than 6,000 of these physician specialists are actively practicing in the U.S. Many communities, especially those in rural areas, don't have access to these critical care specialists at all.
"We have some of the best physicians in the country right here in Sacramento, but they can't be at every patient's bedside 24 hours a day. There just aren't enough intensivists. This technology allows us to be there for our critically ill patients - minute by minute," said Daniel Ikeda, M.D., Sutter Medical Center's medical director of the eICU program.
As part of its ongoing commitment to improving quality care and patient safety, the not-for-profit Sutter Health network of hospitals and physicians announced it would invest $50 million in new advanced technology that promises fundamental changes in hospital ICU care and care elsewhere in the hospital environment. Sutter Health plans to implement the eICU program throughout its 26 Northern California hospitals in the next three years.
"We're proud to continue our march at the forefront of our industry's efforts around safety and clinical quality. The eICU program is just one example of how physicians, nurses and other professionals across our network are working together to make significant leaps in patient care for our communities," said Van R. Johnson, Sutter Health president and chief executive officer.
The Leapfrog Group, a consortium of about 80 Fortune 500 companies and other purchasers sponsored by the Business Roundtable, launched a national effort in November 2000 with a goal toward triggering "leaps" in quality, customer service and affordability. In California, the Pacific Business Group on Health leads the Leapfrog effort and has recently recognized Sutter Health for the network's commitment to employing proven technologies that improve patient safety.
About VISICU, Inc.
VISICU, Inc., a privately held company founded in 1998 by two intensivist physicians, is headquartered in Baltimore, Maryland. The eICU® solution enables hospitals to standardize ICU care across multiple hospitals and leverage scarce intensivist talent. From a centralized eICU facility, intensivists and nurse's monitor and care for ICU patients through a high-fidelity network that has been likened to air traffic control. The proprietary software is used to proactively manage patients, provide evidence-based treatment guidelines and electronically connect the "patient to the doctor." A Cap-Gemini E&Y study of the eICU proved the clinical and financial benefits and the eICU is currently the only technology solution that enables hospitals to meet the Leapfrog Group's ICU patient care safety standards. VISICU won the 2001 Healthcare Informatics and Technology Award and in 2002 the eICU was recognized as one of the Top 100 technical innovations by InfoWorld magazine. For more information please visit www.visicu.com
Sutter Health is one of the nation's leading not-for-profit networks of community-based health care providers, delivering high-quality care in more than 100 Northern California communities. It is also the regional leader in infant deliveries, neonatology, orthopedics and pediatrics services. Sutter Health supports more than two dozen locally run acute care hospitals as well as physician organizations; medical research facilities; regionwide home health, hospice and occupational health networks; and long-term care centers.