Members of the CRDAMC tele-critical care launch team stand in front of one of twelve newly installed video monitors that will serve as a technology-driven patient care platform linking providers and their patients with board-certified intensivists. (Courtesy photo)
Members of the CRDAMC tele-critical care launch team stand in front of one of twelve newly installed video monitors that will serve as a technology-driven patient care platform linking providers and their patients with board-certified intensivists. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HOOD, Texas-Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center launched its tele-critical care service April 1, giving intensive care unit and emergency department medical teams the ability to utilize video-based board-certified intensivists as members of the patient care team.

"Launching this tele-critical care service today is a great accomplishment and expands our capacity to provide care to our most critical patients," Col. Brian Hall, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center deputy commander for medical services said.

Taking care of seriously ill and critically–ill patients is the work of ER and ICU doctors. Sometimes, the second set of eyes or professional collaboration can make all the difference.

Tele-critical care technology reduces the need for patient transfers to other hospitals, lowers mortality rates, and decreases patients' time in the hospital.

"The tele-critical care gives our ICU teams the ability to connect with physicians in remote locations to discuss and coordinate patient care," Hall said.

TCC allows hospital intensivists, ICU physicians to essentially be in the room with the patient and local medical team. They can see the full scope of the situation and talk with the medical team. The collaboration allows CRDAMC teams to provide care to patients with complex medical needs rather than transferring them to other hospitals.

A move that could potentially add stress to a family managing a difficult situation.

This telehealth capability allows CRDAMC to take care of patients locally, allowing family members the ability to provide support to the patients.

The TCC expansion outfitted CRDAMC's ICU and trauma rooms with the latest audio and video equipment required to conduct patient care securely.

According to Col. Scott Stokoe, deputy commanding officer at CRDAMC, getting everything up and running required collaboration between a JTCCN team from San Diego, nurses, providers, the health information technology team, and the facility management division.

“The teams worked hard to ensure patient safety, staff training, and information security,” Stokoe said.

CRDAMC's Intensive Care Unit and Emergency Department have conscientiously implemented innovative practices like the virtual ward, multi-disciplinary rounding, and cross-training nurses to continue the safe delivery of healthcare and improve the patient experience in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. TCC service launch is another innovation demonstrating the medical center's commitment to delivering safe, quality care 24/7.

"Overall, TCC will help sustain high-quality care, reduce costs, enhance readiness, and build lethality," Stokoe said.