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MUSC's Critical Care Expertise to be Available to ICUs Throughout South Carolina

Hospitals throughout South Carolina will soon have access to Critical Care services at the Medical University of South Carolina, including protocols, quality improvement, continuing education, and real-time monitoring of intensive care unit (ICU) patients by intensivist physicians. This program is made possible in part by a $12 million grant from the state of South Carolina and a $1.4 million grant from the Duke Endowment. The 24/7 intensivist oversight of patients in partner hospitals will be implemented through a partnership between Advanced ICU Care® and MUSC. This first-of-its-kind partnership between the nation’s largest tele-ICU services provider and a tertiary care medical center will leverage the unique strengths of both organizations.

MUSC will work with community hospitals to equip and train their ICU staff members in a variety of critical care best practices and in the use of interactive audio, video, cameras, and data systems that will enable board-certified, critical care physicians and nurses at MUSC to monitor their ICU patients. Advanced ICU Care will provide the technological support and initial medical staffing. MUSC, under the direction of Dee Ford, M.D., Critical Care Outreach Medical Director at MUSC, will eventually provide most of the medical expertise. “We will provide continuous oversight of patients,” she says. “This program is critically important to not only rural ICUs but also to many in larger community hospitals that may only have one critical care physician in the entire community who must assume numerous clinical responsibilities. Through this program, we can provide a board-certified physician trained in critical care around the clock whose only job is to take care of that population of patients.”

When the program is fully implemented, the MUSC team will be able to simultaneously monitor more than 100 patients in multiple South Carolina hospitals. The advanced technology allows sophisticated population management of a large number of ICU patients, resulting in a more efficient use of the state’s critical care beds.

A key component of the new program will be MUSC’s roll out of a multidisciplinary quality improvement program to the participating hospitals, supported in part by the Duke Endowment grant. This will include dissemination of MUSC’s evidence-based care protocols and quality improvement interventions, as well as multidisciplinary education (eg, grand rounds and case-based discussions), both on site and via teleconference, to encourage continuous enhancement of care. As an academic institution, MUSC incorporates the most advanced research findings and procedures in its clinical operations. This new statewide telehealth network will share those cutting-edge practices as it advances the goal of improving health outcomes for critically ill patients throughout South Carolina.