Emory, Southern Regional partnering on Tele-ICU program

Officials from Southern Regional Medical Center and Emory Healthcare recently announced they are entering into a collaborative relationship to train medical personnel across North Georgia to use cutting-edge intensive care technology in their local hospitals.

Emory, which recently announced it is negotiating with Southern Regional to take over the Riverdale-based hospital’s management, is working with partner hospitals in metro Atlanta to build a collaborative network designed to add telemedical support for ICUs located across North Georgia, according to a recent announcement from Emory University’s Woodruff Health Sciences Center.

The collaborative effort is being funded by a $10.7 million research award Emory recently received from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition to Southern Regional, other partners working with Emory include: Saint Joseph’s Health System, Northeast Georgia Health System and telemedicine provider, Philips Healthcare.

“The implementation of the tele-intensivist program is part of our commitment to continually improve services for our patients,” said Southern Region Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Willie Cochran, Jr., in a hospital news release. “With the addition of around-the-clock tele-monitoring to the level of quality care already provided by our ICU team in the hospital; our critically ill patients will receive a higher level of care than ever before.”

Southern Regional announced it will be the first hospital on the southside of Atlanta to implement this type of critical care program. A news release from the hospital explains that a team of intervensivists and critical care nurses are expected to provide hospitals like Southern Regional with “around-the-clock” assistance that would complement care the hospital’s physicians provide to ICU patients during the day.

The collaborative effort is also intended to help community hospitals bring in telemedicine ICU services that will allow medical personnel from other hospitals to provide remote support, advice and patient supervision.

The Tele-ICU program would send automated alerts to physicians, to promptly let them know about medical problems a patient is experiencing, so “immediate intervention” can be provided, according to the hospital. Meanwhile, two-way video access systems would allow bedside physicians to consult with Tele-ICU team members.

“The intensivist physicians and critical care team will continuously review real-time patient vital signs, medications, labs and the patient’s entire medical history,” Southern Regional’s news release states.