Transforming Critical Care with Telemedicine

Express Talk

April 15, 2019 | 10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. CDT

Intensivists are essential to treating the over 55,000 critically ill patients cared for within ICUs every day in the United States (SCCM). Yet by year 2020, merely 22 percent of the demand for intensivist services will be met (Journal of the American Medical Association). Dignity Health is using telemedicine to combat this challenge to elevate the level of care rural or smaller facilities can offer, reducing unnecessary transfers and saving costs.

Although telecritical care solutions expand the reach of specialist providers and therefore, the quality of care delivered at any given location, telemedicine is not an end-all solution. The presenters will touch on why Dignity Health has experienced such success in their tele-critical care programs, explaining the importance of building positive relationships between remote providers and local care teams. Building relationships via telemedicine is different from building relationships face-to-face. Remote providers need to be willing to go the extra mile to achieve trustworthy and credulous relationships with local care teams to truly successfully co-manage patient care. Additionally, technology to facilitate telecritical care should essentially be invisible so as to not impede clinical workflows. A successful telehealth program not only encompasses reliable technology, but also employs appropriate clinical workflows and positive remote physician-local care team relationships.

The speakers will present several first-hand accounts of success stories to showcase the benefits of telecritical care programs. For example, Celeste Armstrong, Critical Care Nurse Manager, shares how implementing a tele-intensivist program helped Woodland Memorial Hospital decrease ICU length of stay to one of the lowest in the Dignity system. The success stories will provide examples of how health systems are continuing to move forward with care as a team and how care teams are mitigating risks with experts driving interventions, as well as stories of staff and provider satisfaction.


  • Denise Pimintel, ICU RN Coordinator, Dignity Health
  • Helen Hawkins, Ph.D, Director, Critical Care, InTouch Health