An independent tele-ICU service for critically ill patients was launched by Gitanjali Medical Center here on Sunday.

Tele-ICU enables the hospital’s ICU unit to be connected to a big specialist ICU care centre in a different location, from where critical care specialists monitor and review the patient remotely through online data from connected patient monitors and real-time video images of patient conditions.

This endeavour has been the result of collaboration with Philips Healthcare, the technology provider, and InTeleICU, Chennai, from where the specialist will monitor the patients.

The purpose of tele-ICU is not to replace bedside clinicians, but to provide additional clinical surveillance and support. By collaborating with the on-site staff, the tele-ICU can support care without distraction and deliver timely interventions when minutes may make a difference.

Speaking at the launch, Anand Rengasamy, Head, Gitanjali Medical Center, said the technology enables an ICU to be supervised 24x7 by the best specialists based in different locations. “Although bedside care providers are present in ICUs, monitoring all patients all the time is a big challenge. This is where a solution like tele-ICU can be extremely helpful,” said N. Ramakrishnan, Managing Director and CEO, InTeleICU.

The tele-ICU was put under a trial run at Gitanjali Medical Center for the past two months, which had a successful outcome and enthusiastic acceptance by the patients. The hospital has five beds allotted for tele-ICU and 18 patients have been treated so far, according to Dr. Anand Rengasamy.

“My mother had a brain stroke and was admitted to the hospital. With the help of doctors, we tried out the tele-ICU support for her and were able to save a lot on transportation expenses. We are happy to say that she is cured now,” said Prabhakaran, son of a patient who was treated using the facility at the hospital.

The tele-ICU was commissioned by M.S.Ashraf, senior physician, in the presence of M.Chenniappan, senior cardiologist, and R. Gunasekaran, senior physician.