Emory Healthcare teams up with Australian hospital on remote ICU

Atlanta-based Emory Healthcare will continue to offer its patients remote intensive care unit services as part of a telehealth partnership with Royal Perth Hospital in Australia.

Under the program, Emory sends ICU providers to Royal Perth Hospital for an eight- to 16-week rotation. During this period, the providers begin work in Perth, Australia, at 7 a.m., but cover the night shift of Emory's ICUs using video monitors, microphones and specialized cameras designed by Philips, as Perth has a roughly 12-hour time difference from Atlanta.

The program builds on a pilot project Emory launched in 2016, which connected Emory's ICUs with providers at Sydney, Australia-based Macquarie University, which is 15 hours ahead of Atlanta. For the next stage of the project, Emory will work with Royal Perth Hospital for two to three years to refine its teleICU practices.

Emory's goal for the program — which was conceived by Timothy Buchman, PhD, MD, founding director of the Emory Critical Care Center and Cheryl Hiddleson, MSN, RN, director of the Emory eICU Center — is to alleviate two concerns critical care providers tend to have about night shifts: a shortage of senior clinicians willing to cover these shifts, and the toll sleep deprivation takes on caregivers.

"The providers worked more efficiently and felt better because they were working during daylight hours in Australia, reducing burnout and keeping more professionals satisfied in the critical care medicine field," Dr. Buchman said in a May 9 statement, noting the benefits Emory documented during the 2016 pilot phase of the program. "Patients benefited from the project by having focused, around-the-clock management of care, both during day and night hours."

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