Covenant Health Launches Innovative Tele-ICU Initiative at Parkwest

Dr. Doers on tele-ICU screen
Covenant Health intensivist and tele-ICU physician leader Jesse Doers, MD, is one of a team of physicians available for consult via telehealth.

Parkwest Medical Center, a member of Covenant Health, has introduced tele-health services (“tele-ICU”) for patients in the hospital’s intensive care units. This initiative is in
partnership with Hicuity Health, the nation’s leading provider of high-acuity telemedicine services.

Tele-ICU is an expansion of existing critical care services and is designed to support the bedside clinical team. Research shows the technology can improve patient outcomes and the overall quality of critical care services. Parkwest Medical Center continues to be at the forefront of offering cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology and services that put our
patients first.

Technology That Enhances Collaborative Care

Head shot of Donita Beard
Donita Beard, nurse manager, Parkwest Critical Care Unit

The tele-ICU initiative includes a telehealth operations center that enables consultation and patient monitoring around the clock through a seamless collaboration of Covenant Health and Hicuity Health critical care nurses and intensivists. These professionals work virtually alongside hospital staff to proactively evaluate high-acuity patients and anticipate medical needs before they become urgent.

Nurse Manager Donita Beard, DNP, RN, MHA/EDU, CCRN-K, CENP, oversees the 30-bed critical care unit at Parkwest Medical Center. Beard explained how Parkwest was the final hospital in the Covenant Health system to implement tele- ICU, and how her staff looked forward to its arrival. The team leaders of the tele-ICU  initiative provided ample education and training, ensuring all staff were prepared to use it.

“This technology offers us ongoing support and an added layer of care. The rapid intervention allows us to catch things sooner and respond quicker, which leads to better patient outcomes,” says Beard. “Our staff is acutely and highly trained to provide critical care services, and they are constantly anticipating what could happen next. On top of that, they have compassion and a desire to care for others. They give it their all every single day.”

CCU nurse talking to patient in bed, physician on screen.

Charles Mascioli, MD (on screen), uses Tele-ICU technology to assess a patient in Parkwest’s CCU.

Beard says that offering tele-ICU capabilities at all Covenant Health hospitals is a testament to the health system’s commitment to providing standardized, accurate and timely care to the patient in every way possible. “In the critical care unit, we have some very sick patients. They come from the emergency room, or another inpatient area, and they are acute and extremely critical. “Having a provider be on screen and ‘meet’ us in the room on arrival has been game-changing. As a nurse is getting the patient settled, the remote provider can immediately assess the patient in that CCU bed. They have the capability to zoom in with the camera to see exact units of meds in an IV bag. They can see the patient’s vitals in the background and alert us to any changes, so we can intervene in a timely manner.”

Heart and Soul

She says the bedside staff feels supported when they know another provider is monitoring their patients’ vitals, medications, and orders – and it ultimately saves lives. Beard added, “I am fortunate to support our critical care staff at Parkwest. Every day, we pour our heart and soul into our patients. It’s my job to make sure they have the resources they need to provide excellent, timely patient care. Having a resource like tele-ICU is the finishing touch – the icing on the cake – to the delivery of care.”

This innovative, patient-centered resource is available at all nine Covenant Health acute- care hospitals, providing additional support and expertise for our medical
teams and enhancing local critical care services for our patients throughout our region.
For more information, visit CovenantHealth.com/tele-ICU.

About Tele-ICU Servicesman talking on headset

  • Each tele-ICU room is equipped with a camera, microphone and monitor that enables two-way communication between the critical care team at the hospital and a remote critical care team.
  • The camera allows a tele-ICU physician at the remote operations center to see the patient and bedside caregivers at the hospital. The patient and care team at the hospital can see and talk with the tele-ICU physician via a microphone and computer monitor.
  • A member of the care team must activate the two-way communication. Video and audio communications are never recorded; when the camera is off, it faces the wall and does not capture video/audio.
  • In addition to visual monitoring, the virtual tele-ICU team can assess the patient’s condition through remote view of vital signs, lab results and other clinical data.
  • All aspects of tele-ICU operations are secure and comply with federal patient privacy and security regulations.