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Queen’s Med Center & N. Hawai‘i Hospital Create Telemedicine ICU

June 13, 2017, 4:06 PM HST (Updated June 13, 2017, 4:12 PM) · 0 Comments
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The first telemedicine ICU on the Big Island provides advanced care to the Big Island’s sickest patients. Courtesy photo.

The sickest patients at North Hawai‘i Community Hospital in Waimea are now being monitored 24/7 by highly specialized physicians using state-of-the-art integrated technology provided by The Queen’s Health Systems.

The new system allows for real-time videoconferencing, putting the staff at The Queen’s Medical Center on O‘ahu virtually at the bedside of each ICU patient at NHCH.

NHCH ICU patient vital signs are continually displayed in the Queen’s ICU on O‘ahu. The complete patient chart is visible, exams can be done virtually with advanced videoconferencing located in each patient room, and heart and lung sounds can be heard by the O‘ahu team using a virtually connected stethoscope.

“The goal is to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care where intensive care experts are available at the bedside when the patient needs it,” said Matthew Koenig, MD, medical dDirector of telemedicine for The Queen’s Health Systems. “This ensures patients at NHCH have timely access to intensive care specialists in their home community without having to transfer interisland to Queen’s on O‘ahu. The telemedicine ICU partnership will improve outcomes by reducing treatment delays and providing state-of-the-art care.”

Physicians and staff in the ICU at NHCH now conduct rounds alongside intensivists at the Punchbowl campus through this new technology.

Intensivists are physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill patients, most often in ICUs. Having intensivists available via telemedicine has been shown to reduce mortality.

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This top-level expertise is now available 24/7 for the sickest patients who come to North Hawai’i Community Hospital.

“Our medical center’s founder, Queen Emma, said that ‘people are the key to healing,'” said Scott Gallacher, MD, medical director of the ICU at The Queen’s Medical Center. “Our new tele-ICU capability with NHCH may involve quite a lot of high technology behind the scenes, but it is essentially a tool to help connect people—patients, families, nursing staff, physicians—at a time when expert help might be the most needed, enhancing our collaborative approach to care. We have already seen that our face-to-face virtual bedside interactions have been a welcome source of comfort and reassurance that the very best in critical care is being delivered within the North Hawai‘i community.

“While we always have the option to transport patients to our Punchbowl MICU from NHCH, this new model turns old ideas of bringing patients to doctors on its head by virtually transporting specialty physicians directly and immediately to the patient bedside where timely care is essential,” Dr. Gallacher said.

“This new system of care, with North Hawai’i Community Hospital working together with The Queen’s Medical Center, means that we are able to provide the highest quality service to our patients at an extremely critical time,” said Dr. Gary Goldberg, chief medical officer of NHCH. “It also means that we can keep more patients close to home—this is good for patients and good for families.”

NHCH is located at 67-1125 Māmalahoa Highway.

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