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Sutter Health’s electronic-ICU helps care for COVID patients


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – In the age of COVID-19, telehealth is increasingly more critical, especially when it comes to COVID patients who end up in the intensive care unit.

Sutter Health’s Electronic ICU is a tool the hospital claims has helped cut COVID treatment times in half.

With the help of cameras in each room and an application constantly pulling in vital signs, Sutter Health’s Electronic Intensive Care Unit is monitoring patients 24/7.

“With this second set of eyes, additional layer of critical care services, we can help with continuity and consistency of care,” Lisa Ochoa said.

E-ICU Director Lisa Ochoa says Sutter was an early adopter of Telehealth.

The program has been evolving in the Bay Area since 2006 and became even more critical for onsite care when COVID-19 arrived.

“If they didn’t need to go into that isolation room, they still had a way of communicating with the patient with the clinician in the room, so that saved potential exposure, and also additional use of PPE,” Ochoa said.

During their shifts, E-RN’s are essentially doing nonstop rounds.

“Do your initial rounds get to know your patients and then at the same time as the alarms are coming up, you’re assessing that, and then the labs are coming back,” Daisy Cruz, RN, said.

With the technology here each E-RN is able to be inside several different hospital locations all at once.

“Today I’m monitoring Sutter Santa Rosa in the North Bay, Summit Medical Center in the East Bay, and Delta which is also in the East Bay,” Cruz said.

“It’s very good medicine and it’s got equality, everybody can have access to it,” Dr. Jim Gude said.

The constant monitoring has helped to shorten the length of an ICU stays for COVID at Sutter Health from an average of 22 days to just eight.

Dr. Jim Gude says mortality rates have decreased as well.

“It brings best practices to any COVID patient, what medicine they should be on when they should be on a ventilator, how to treat diff complications they have, pneumonia, etc.,” Gude said.

As well as an extra set of eyes, to put patients’ minds more at ease.

“I think for COVID patients who are already in stress and fear, it’s somewhat reassuring for them to know that even though there’s none in the room, that there’s somebody else aware and watching,” Isabel Reza, RN, said.

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