Telemedicine reduces ICU mortality rate at Valley Health

Valley Health, a not-for-profit health system serving West Virginia, Maryland and part of Virginia, was facing two serious challenges for which it was looking for solutions. First, hospitals are facing critical care staffing shortages. "There is a national problem finding enough intensivists to support an ICU," said Dr. Glen Bouder, director of valley intensivists at Valley Health and medical director of critical care at Winchester Medical Center. "We struggled with that obstacle at the same time that we were growing the ICU program volume," he said. "We asked ourselves, 'How do we grow our program, support our existing physicians and still meet the care needs of our community?'" And second, from an administrative perspective, the provider organization found being able to have risk-adjusted acuity data an appealing measure. "Not many organizations have the bandwidth to have the APACHE – Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation – scoring system, or have a robust acuity-based infrastructure in order to understand what is actually going on clinically in the ICU," Bouder said. "We all say, 'Well, our patients are really sick,' but how do you validate that?"

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