Collaboration Between Tele-ICU Programs Has the Potential to Rapidly Increase the Availability of Critical Care Physicians-Our Experience Was During Coronavirus Disease 2019 Nomenclature.
Objectives: Implement a connected network between two Tele-ICU programs to support staffing and rounding during the first wave of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the United States.
Design: Proof of Concept model.
Setting: Northwell Health; a 23 Hospital, 40 ICU (500 ICU beds) healthcare organization serving the downstate NY area. During the initial coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, Northwell Health rapidly expanded to greater than 1,000 ICU beds. The surge in patients required redeployment of noncritical care providers to the ICU bedside. The Tele-ICU program expanded from covering 176 beds pre pandemic to assisting with care for patients in approximately 450 beds via deployment of Wi-Fi-enabled mobile telehealth carts to the newly formed ICUs.
Patients: Critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients hospitalized at Northwell Health, NY, at any point from March 2020 to June 2020.
Interventions: To offset the shortage of critical care physicians, Northwell Health established a collaboration with the Tele-ICU program of Providence, St. Joseph Health in the state of Washington, which enabled the critical care physicians of Providence, St. Joseph Health to participate in virtual rounding on critically ill coronavirus disease 2019 patients at Northwell Health.
Main Results: We developed an innovative hybrid model that allowed for virtual rounding on an additional 40-60 patients per day by a remote critical care physician at Providence, St. Joseph Health. This was accomplished in approximately 3 weeks and provided remote care to complex patients.
Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate the proof of concept of establishing a network of connected Tele-ICU programs as a rapidly scalable and sustainable paradigm for the provision of support from critical care physicians for noncritical care teams at the bedside.