December 15, 2006

CONTACT: Rick Cushman
(215) 349-5659
rick.cushman@uphs.upenn.edu


Penn E-lert E-volves
Virtual Intensive Care Unit adds upgrades to protect sickest patients

(PHILADELPHIA) – The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s virtual intensive care unit, Penn E-lert, has upgraded by adding new alerts and alarms, equipment interfaces and converting to paperless record keeping. These enhancements will add another dimension to this invaluable system, increasing the speed, transparency and accuracy of treatment for the critically ill.

“It’s really another set of expert eyes,” said Frank Sites, RN, operations director for Penn E-lert. “In addition to tracking vital sign trends and hemodynamics the new system has a new medication, lab and respiratory interface as well as a sepsis alarm. It also continues to be an invaluable teaching tool for residents and fellows working in critical care situations.”

Penn E-lert eICU® is a remote monitoring system that integrates interdisciplinary intensive-care teams with innovative technology to educate, improve practice, increase efficiency and save lives. Off-site doctors and nurses can track numerous patients through a computer, camera and audio system. The system is programmed to track trends and changes in critically sick patients. Bedside physicians can be made aware of these trends and changes to prevent patient deterioration and complications from arising.

Critical care situations require accuracy and transparency. Everyone involved in the treatment of a critical patient must be on same page when it comes to care. The newest edition of Penn E-lert has improved both aspects.

“The biggest improvement is paperless record keeping. It’s all right there on the computer,” said Sites. “Typically patient care is documented on a ten-page flow sheet. Sometimes the handwriting is unreadable or something can be lost in translation. Not on the new system. Everything is there on the patient’s page. All medications, treatment, trends, alarms, vital sign changes are right there. It’s all clearly legible. Everyone involved in the patient’s care from nurses, to doctors, to social workers can sign in and check on a patient’s treatment. No more looking for the doctor or looking for a patient’s chart. This also prevents confusion when a new shift of doctors and nurses take over. They just log on to the computer and it’s all right there.”

“The proactive approach of virtual ICUs, like Penn E-lert, has resulted in lower mortality among the sickest of patients. That’s the most important thing,” said Sites. “At night a faculty intensive care specialist is both continuously evaluating patients for developing problems and available for strategic advice and feedback to the bedside staff. In certain situations we have averted life-threatening complications.”

The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s Penn E-lert monitors five different ICUs: one at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, one at Penn Presbyterian Medical Center and three at Pennsylvania Hospital.

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PENN Medicine is a $2.9 billion enterprise dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and high-quality patient care. PENN Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System.

Penn's School of Medicine is ranked #2 in the nation for receipt of NIH research funds; and ranked #3 in the nation in U.S. News & World Report's most recent ranking of top research-oriented medical schools. Supporting 1,400 fulltime faculty and 700 students, the School of Medicine is recognized worldwide for its superior education and training of the next generation of physician-scientists and leaders of academic medicine.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System includes three hospitals, all of which have received numerous national patient-care honors [Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation's first hospital; and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center]; a faculty practice plan; a primary-care provider network; two multispecialty satellite facilities; and home care and hospice.


This release is available online at
http://www.uphs.upenn.edu/news/News_Releases/dec06/penn-e-lert-upgrades.htm