Title : Utilizing Advanced Practice Providers in Telemedicine for Intensive Care Patients in Rural Areas
Traditionally, telemedicine has been primarily used by physicians for coverage in rural hospital settings. Today, telemedicine can be utilized for a variety of healthcare needs, including, post discharge follow up, medication reconciliation, management of chronic health problems, minor urgent care issues and home health visits. In more recent years, telemedicine has shown growth potential being primarily staffed by advanced practice providers, including nurse practitioners and physician assistants in the intensive care setting (ICU). ICU telemedicine uses audio-visual technology to provide critical care services from a remote location. Telemedicine can potentially improve ICU outcomes by increasing access to the expertise of dedicated critical care providers, facilitating early recognition of physiological deterioration, and prompting the bedside provider/nurse/respiratory therapist to implement routine evidence-based practices.
A recent model adapted at University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) uses telemedicine for coverage of three smaller rural hospitals and one urban teaching hospital within the University of Maryland System. The use of telemedicine with advanced practice providers has demonstrated improved access for healthcare of the critically-ill and provides nursing and house staff direction regarding complex critical care needs. Given telemedicine is housed out of UMMC it also provides improved access to tertiary care services if indicated. Advanced practice providers are once again filling a gap of necessary care!