Tele-ICUs Could Save Money; Health Care IT Companies See Bolstered Support
The Boston Globe: "Monitoring the sickest hospital patients remotely from a command center staffed around the clock by intensive care specialists could save 350 lives and $122 million a year if every hospital in the state adopted the model, according to a report being released today" by Cambridge, Mass., health care think tank New England Healthcare Institute. "The staff scan six screens that display patients' vital signs, levels of oxygen in the blood, medication use, and other indicators" and consult with care givers over two-way video connections. "But the state's top health official says it's too soon to adopt tele-ICUs statewide" in part because the study is based on the only tele-ICU model in the state, UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. "'I think it's premature to say this is something that all hospitals should do,' Dr. JudyAnn Bigby, secretary of health and human services, said. While 'the study shows very promising potential results,' she added, more needs to be learned about how to implement them and their impact on a variety of community hospitals (Cooney, 12/1).
The Wall Street Journal: Despite criticism of the new health law during the recent mid-term elections, the government's "drive to digitize" the health care sector "has found support from private equity. Health-care information technology companies that focus on capturing revenue and implementing electronic medical records provide important tools necessary to achieving that outcome" including software to help make sure doctors and hospitals get paid. "Although there is a lot of money floating around, picking the winners in the fragmented health-care IT market is a challenge for investors, especially as a wave of consolidation unfolds in the sector" (Sergie, 11/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.