Telemedicine use is growing rapidly. We’ve written about imaging store and forward services for specialist access, remote consults for brain tumor second opinions, telepsychiatric visits, and much more. From the recent spate of media attention to telemedicine and telehealth, many may infer the concept is brand new, but that’s not the case.

Penn Medicine’s E-lert teleICU opened in November 2004 to serve the University of Pennsylvania Health System. Still thriving at the forefront of technology, Penn Med’s teleICU’s core service remains the same. Practicing critical-care physicians — intensivists — monitor intensive care units at the Hospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPenn Presbyterian Medical Center, and Pennsylvania Hospital as well as long-term acute care (LTACH) patients at the Good Shepherd Penn Partners Specialty Hospital at Rittenhouse.

The teleICU’s primary objectives are to evaluate ICU patients
continuously, proactively identify patient problems, and assist or direct patient management. According to the system, the benefits include fewer ICU patient complications, shorter hospital stays, and improved patient outcomes.

The Penn Med’s telemedicine services has evolved to include virtual visits, virtual consults, remote second opinions, and the Center for Connected Care which offers telemedicine for the chronically and critically ill, and trauma services for injured pregnant women.