UW Health e-Care/eICU
UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin is committed to advancing the health and well-being of the people of Wisconsin and beyond. Telehealth services allow for appropriate and timely medical care from specialist at UW Health. Patients who receive telehealth interventions receive comprehensive management resulting in rapid stabilization and improved patient outcomes.
How Does the e-Care Program Work?
Based in an off-site center, e-Care or eICU is an electronic Intensive Care Unit that is staffed by a team of experts. Critical care doctors and nurses observe and communicate with patients and the bedside care teams at multiple locations through use of advanced technology. Information such as patient's heart rate and blood pressure, blood test results, patient's medication list, and x-rays can be sent to the e-Care staff via confidential, high-speed data lines. With the aid of computers, e-Care staff monitors and analyzes information and are alerted to possible problems.
UW Health e-Care doctors and nurses believe that this high tech method of care will not replace the patient's personal doctors or bedside nurses but this method of care does provide additional support to ensure the best possible outcomes for patients.
How Are Clinical Decisions About Patient Care Determined?
The patient's beside doctor and e-Care doctor generally collaborate together to make the final decisions regarding the care of the patient. Ultimately it is the bedside provider who determines if they should order the recommended orders given by the e-Care doctor. Due to the fact that the patient's primary doctor and the e-Care doctor discuss the medical status and treatment plans daily, the e-Care doctor may modify treatment according to the primary doctor's plan of care when he or she is not present in the ICU.
Why Are Cameras Necessary?
To provide the best possible care, it is important for the e-Care doctors and nurses to be able to observe a patient when needed. To ensure privacy, cameras are turned off except when needed to check on the patient status or deliver care. When a camera is turned off, it faces the wall. When the camera is turned on, it moves to face the patient and a green light signals that it is active.
How Can One Be Sure that Private Information is Protected?
Several measures ensure that health information is kept confidential, including:
- Access to patient information is strictly limited to those with hospital authorization so a patient's health information is not released to anyone other than those providing direct medical care.
- No recordings are made from any camera or microphone in the patient rooms.
- Any information sent to or from e-Care is sent by private data lines. Any information sent through these data lines is scrambled, or encrypted, until it reaches either the e-Care center or the hospital. It is then available for viewing by physicians or nurses. Information is not sent over the Internet.
- Physicians working at the e-Care center use a secure personal identification number as an authorized electronic signature when ordering treatments. These numbers are private and change regularly to ensure security.
- The e-Care center itself is secured and can be accessed only by e-Care personnel.