Telemedicine in the ICU: glass half full or empty?

Closing out our rapidly evaporating 2009 is a year-end article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) questioning the value of telemedicine usage in the ICU. Their ‘glass half empty’ is a 2003-6 study finding that telemedicine usage by ‘intensivists’ (ICU specialists–another word for your glossary) was not associated with overall improvement in risk of death or length of stay in the hospital.  The shortage of ICU specialists driving ‘tele-ICU’ is noted, but the JAMA study concludes that there is a lack of apparent benefit.  Science Daily  The ‘glass half full’ point-of-view is discussed by Dana Blankenhorn on his ZDNet blogtelemedicine obviously increases productivity with ‘no added risk associated with ICU patients monitored remotely.’ It’s the spin!

But in Afghanistan, there’s no argument about telemedicine.  The US Army medical corps wants laptops that will enable telemedicine (Joint Telemedicine Network–JTMN), teleconferencing and EHRs at remote locations. Quickly.  Government Health IT article

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