Sentara Expands Life-Saving eICU® System to Upper Peninsula Patients
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Sentara Expands Life-Saving eICU® System to Upper Peninsula Patients 

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Sentara has expanded its advanced eICU® patient-safety technology to Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital, making it the fifth hospital in the system to come online with this proven technology-based monitoring program that can save lives. In an independent study conducted with Sentara hospitals, this ICU technology was shown to reduce severity-adjusted hospital mortality for Intensive Care Unit (ICU) patients and shorten ICU length of stay by 17 percent.

How it works
In Sentara’s eICU system, intensivists, nurse practitioners and specially trained nurses use early warning software and advanced video and electronic monitoring to keep an even closer eye on critically ill patients seven days a week. Vital signs and laboratory data from the sickest hospital patients are fed to existing on-site doctors and bedside nurse stations as well as to the remote, specially equipped electronic ICU. The eICU system serves as a high-tech and centralized patient safety net, with the additional specialists constantly checking the condition of patients who are right down the street or as much as 50 miles away. Developed by Baltimore, MD-based VISICU, Inc., the eICU technology uses early warning indicators to alert the team to vital sign changes or the slightest signs of trouble.

Bringing this new technology to patients in the Williamsburg Area Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital’s became operational with eICU technology today, and will support care provided to patients in 12 ICU beds. All combined, Sentara’s eICU supports about 95 ICU beds in five hospitals, including Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara CarePlex Hospital, Sentara Bayside Hospital, Sentara Leigh Hospital and now Sentara Williamsburg Community Hospital.

Improving Quality Care
“We have some of the best physicians in the country working within the Sentara system, but they can’t be at every patient’s bedside 24 hours a day. There just aren’t enough intensivists,” says Dr. Rod Hochman, Executive Vice President for Sentara Healthcare. “This technology allows us to be there for our critically ill patients – minute by minute.”

The challenge has been the nationwide shortage of intensivists. Less than 6,000 intensivists are actively practicing in the U.S. Many communities, especially those in rural areas, do not have access to intensivists at all. Sentara’s eICU system is one answer to this issue for patients in the region.

“Our hospital already has stringent quality control guidelines, and this proven technology gives us the opportunity to take patient safety to the next level,” said Robert Graves, Administrator of SWCH. “As we’ve witnessed in other Sentara hospitals, the technology – and the specialized team behind it – made a vital difference to patients’ lives when every minute was precious. Now our Williamsburg area patients will benefit.”

David Bernd, president and CEO of Sentara Healthcare, has been a key driver behind the system’s patient safety initiative. Bernd and other Sentara Leaders, as well as the system’s physicians and nurses, have recognized the value of advanced technology-based systems in supporting caregivers on the job and in improving healthcare quality.

As part of it’s ongoing commitment to improving quality care and patient safety, Sentara was the first system in the country to implement this groundbreaking technology in 2000.

“These high-tech support systems are the future of health care and we’re proud to be leading the way,” says Bernd. “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.”

The Leapfrog Group, a consortium of 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. The eICU technology by VISICU efficiently manages scarce intensivist resources while helping to meet the Leapfrog standards of quality care giving.

eICU is a registered trademark of VISICU, Inc.

Sentara Healthcare, a premier not-for-profit health care provider in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, is comprised of more than 70 sites of care including 6 acute care hospitals, a hospital for extended recovery, 2 outpatient care campuses, 7 nursing centers, 3 assisted living centers, and 25 primary care practices. Sentara also offers a full range of award-winning health coverage plans, home health and hospice services, physical therapy and rehabilitation services, mobile diagnostic vans, and ground and air medical transport services, including Nightingale – the regions only air ambulance service. For the past six years, Sentara Healthcare has consistently ranked among the nation’s top integrated health care networks as published in Modern Healthcare magazine. Garnering the No. 1 position in 2001 and No. 2 in 2002 and 2003, Sentara is the only health care system on the East Coast to be ranked in the nation’s top 10 all six years the survey has been conducted.

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