Iowa’s Most Critically Ill to Receive Additional Electronic Round-the Clock Support with eFocus
Release Date: 01/22/2008

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa—Families of some of the most critically ill patients in southwest Iowa are taking comfort in knowing their loved one will soon benefit from an additional layer of vigilance with the implementation of eFocus. On Jan. 31, 2008, this state-of-the-art technology will go live in all 18-Intensive Care Unit (ICU) rooms at Alegent Health Mercy Hospital, enhancing bedside care through the continuous virtual watch of specialized critical care physicians and nurses. eFocus allows patients to be remotely monitored so that even the slightest change in vital signs can be detected and acted upon immediately. Alegent Health is currently monitoring 68 beds at its four additional metro area campuses including Bergan Mercy and Immanuel Medical Centers and Lakeside and Midlands Hospitals. Results show this technology is credited with making dramatic reductions in mortality rates, reducing the length of hospital stays and increasing patient safety.

“Our patients deserve nothing less than the highest quality of care we can give them,” said Wayne Sensor, CEO of Alegent Health. “Harnessing technology to improve the care and safety of our patients is exciting, particularly when we know it will help save lives and return people to health more quickly.”

Alegent Health is the first health care system in the area to employ eFocus technology, which works through sophisticated telemedicine technology, early warning software and electronic monitoring that connects the off-site eFocus Monitoring Center directly to the ICU bedside team. The eFocus monitoring team is made up of highly skilled, board-certified, critical care physicians known as Intensivists, critical care nurses and healthcare assistants.

When a patient is admitted into the ICU, the patient data is entered into the system including admitting diagnosis, level of illness and care plan. The eFocus care team then watches each patient’s vital signs and clinical results on computer monitors connected via secure data lines to allow early intervention when required. Each ICU hospital room is also equipped with a special hi-resolution camera and video screen that allows the eFocus team to see and interact with patients and the ICU staff. This real-time interaction between both care teams allows the staff to collaborate and develop the best patient treatment plan.

Families with loved ones in the ICU say they like the extra sets of eyes that eFocus brings, providing greater piece of mind and say, “The eFocus has allowed caregivers to focus on coordination of care and they've been very aware of involving family in all decision making,” said the daughter of an ICU patient.
Mercy Hospital’s implementation of eFocus in all 18-ICU rooms is part of the system’s rollout plan that was first launched in August 2007 at Bergan Mercy and Immanuel Medical Centers 48-ICU beds. This was followed up with Lakeside and Midlands Hospitals in the fall. Scheduled “go live” dates for Alegent Health’s rural facilities will be in early spring. Once all implementation phases are complete, eFocus will enhance critical care coverage for more than 90 ICU beds across Alegent Health’s nine acute care hospitals, five of which are located in the Omaha/Council Bluffs metro area.

“In the six months since Alegent Health first implemented eFocus, this innovative technology has proven to make measurable improvements in the lives of our most critical patients. By recognizing trends and early warning signs the critical care staff is able to intervene much earlier and that is helping to significantly improve outcomes,” said Fred Hosler, M.D., MPA, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Alegent Health. “For patients and their families, that results in world-class patient care and something they deserve.”

In hospitals and health systems that have implemented eICU technology in conjunction with the ICU/eICU care model, the results have shown a dramatic reduction in mortality and length of stay and has enabled
these hospitals to meet stringent patient care safety standards by ensuring all ICU patients receive continuous care from physicians and nurses who specialize in critical care.

About Alegent Health
Alegent Health is the largest not-for-profit, faith-based healthcare system in Nebraska and southwestern Iowa with nine acute care hospitals, more than 100 sites of service, over 1,200 physicians on its medical staff and more than 8,600 employees. Alegent Health is making healthcare better with an exceptional commitment to quality and by providing patient focused care for the body, mind and spirit of every person. At Alegent Health, patients and their families find a continuum of care, from women's and children's services, primary care, wellness counseling, and senior care to cardiovascular services, orthopaedics, oncology, physical rehabilitation and behavioral health. Alegent Health is sponsored by Catholic Health Initiatives and Immanuel Health Systems.