From ‘Government Technology’ (June 29, 2020):

The hospital system — the first in the country — wired bedside video cameras and microphones on a secure network in 2000 so a medical team could monitor patients at multiple hospitals’ intensive care units from one command center around the clock.

When Sentara Healthcare first launched its “eICU,” the plan was to provide an extra set of eyes on critical patients, especially overnight when staffing was down to a skeleton crew.

Before the coronavirus arrived in Virginia, the average number of telemedicine visits within Sentara Medical Group was about 20 a day. Now, it is more than 2,000 a day, according to the company. Between March and June 21, its clinicians had 314,000 total patient visits, with about 51 percent of them happening virtually.

Sentara Healthcare Website

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Telemedicine has been slowly developing for 10 or 20 years. The models have been developing according to the requirements of their local areas.

Dartmouth deals with a rural area and has sophisticated aid to it’s associated hospitals and transportation systems to bring Stabilized  patients to the main hospital.

Sentara deals with a more urban area and has a central brain aiding the peripheral hospitals in the delivery of treatment locally.

The Tele intensive care unit system of Santara features a central ” Mission  Control” With patients in multiple peripheral Intensive care units connected by telemetry. This efficient system allows the peripheral ICUs to operate at a higher level with less staff.

Such telemetry could allow convalescent hospitals and even nursing homes to improve medical care.

With such excellent models one can hope that American medicine will rapidly improve in the post Covid era, riding the wave of telehealth advances.

—Dr. C.