The Queen’s Medical Center and North Hawaii Community Hospital create first telemedicine ICU on the Big Island
The sickest patients at North Hawai’i Community Hospital (NHCH) are now being monitored 24/7 by highly specialized physicians thanks to state-of-the-art integrated technology provided by The Queen’s Health Systems.
The new system allows for real-time videoconferencing, putting the staff at The Queen’s Medical Center on Oahu virtually at the bedside of each ICU patient at NHCH. NHCH ICU patient vital signs are continually displayed in the Queen’s ICU on Oahu. The complete patient chart is visible, exams can be done virtually with advanced videoconferencing located in each patient room, and heart and lung sounds can be heard by the Oahu team thanks to a virtually connected stethoscope.
“The goal is to deliver high quality, patient-centered care where intensive care experts are available at the bedside when the patient needs it. This ensures patients at NHCH have timely access to intensive care specialists in their home community without having to transfer inter-island to Queen’s on Oahu. The telemedicine ICU partnership will improve outcomes by reducing treatment delays and providing state-of-the art care,” said Matthew Koenig, MD, Medical Director of Telemedicine for The Queen’s Health Systems.
Physicians and staff in the ICU at North Hawai’i Community Hospital now conduct rounds alongside intensivists at the Punchbowl campus thanks to this new technology. Intensivists are physicians who specialize in the care of critically ill patients, most often in ICUs. Having intensivists available via telemedicine has shown to reduce mortality. This top-level expertise is now available 24/7 for the sickest patients who come to North Hawai’i Community Hospital.
Scott Gallacher, MD, Medical Director of the Medical ICU at The Queen’s Medical Center, notes that “our medical center’s founder, Queen Emma, said that ‘people are the key to healing.’ Our new tele-ICU capability with NHCH may involve quite a lot of high-technology behind the scenes, but it is essentially a tool to help connect people – patients, families, nursing staff, physicians – at a time when expert help might be the most needed, enhancing our collaborative approach to care. We have already seen that our face-to-face virtual bedside interactions have been a welcome source of comfort and reassurance that the very best in critical care is being delivered within the North Hawai’i community. While we always have the option to transport patients to our Punchbowl MICU from NHCH, this new model turns old ideas of bringing patients to doctors on its head by virtually transporting specialty physicians directly and immediately to the patient bedside where timely care is essential.”
“This new system of care, with North Hawai’i Community Hospital working together with The Queen’s Medical Center, means that we are able to provide the highest quality service to our patients at an extremely critical time,” said Gary Goldberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer, North Hawai’i Community Hospital. “It also means that we can keep more patients close to home – this is good for patients and good for families.”
About The Queen’s Health Systems
The Queen’s Health Systems (QHS) is a non-profit corporation established in 1985 to provide expanded health care capabilities to the people of Hawaii and the Pacific Basin. It is Hawaii’s oldest and preeminent family of health care-related companies, and has more than 7,000 employees and more than 1,700 physicians on its Medical Staff. QHS consists of The Queen’s Medical Center, The Queen’s Medical Center – West O‘ahu, The Queen’s Health Care Centers, Queen Emma Land Company, Queen’s Development Corporation, Queen’s Insurance Exchange, Inc., Molokai General Hospital and North Hawaii Community Hospital, and has ownership interests in CareResource Hawaii, Hamamatsu/Queen’s PET Imaging Center, Diagnostic Laboratory Services, Inc. and The Queen’s Clinically Integrated Physician Network.