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Advanced Intensive Care Monitoring for Patients, Peace of Mind for Families

How Avera eICU© Care Works

To learn more, watch the Avera eICU Care video

Having a loved one as a patient in an intensive care unit (ICU) can be a stressful experience.  You want to know they will receive the best medical care and closest attention possible from doctors and nurses.

The technology of the future is now at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital.  Now located at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital as well as three other hospitals in the Avera Health system (Aberdeen, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls), care for the critically ill and injured has advanced through innovative telemedicine called Avera eICU© Care. 

The Avera Health system is one of the first in the nation and the first in the Upper Midwest to employ this ground breaking, interactive technology. 

How Avera eICU© Care Works

A round-the-clock intensive care team, led by a physician who specializes in caring for critically-ill patients, is located in a building on the Avera McKennan campus. They are linked to the Avera Sacred Heart Intensive Care Unit by video, voice and data technology.  Cameras have been installed in each of Avera Sacred Heart’s twelve ICU rooms to give the Avera eICU Care team a first-hand look at any problems that may arise. 

“The eICU is similar to how air traffic controllers use on-board sensors to identify problems and intervene to maintain a safe flight,” said Dr. Marques Rhoades, Vice President of Medical Affairs.  “The care team uses software alerts to track patient vital trends and catch potential problems before they occur.” 

Support for Your Physician, Better Care For Your Loved One

How does my doctor work with the eICU© team? 

The eICU© system does not replace your family physician or surgeon, but provides additional support to ensure the best possible outcome for the ICU patient.  Your family physician selects the level of care he or she would like the eICU© team to provide from only monitoring the patient to making decisions about treatment.  Regardless, your doctor makes the final decisions regarding your care. 

“The combination of the nurses and doctors at the Avera Sacred Heart ICU and the Avera eICU© Care team provides the very best possible care,” said Dr. Rhoades.  “It provides the patient with immediate physician access and allows for decisions to be made quickly.”

Extra Level of Care that Saves Health Care Costs

Rhoades said studies show that this type of care can reduce ICU mortality by 25% and save health care costs.  The costs are not passed onto the patient.  Because the eICU© enhances patient care, it can also cut down on time spent in the ICU – thus decreasing overall costs.  Studies have shown that eICU© care:

  • Enhances patient care
  • Improves patient outcomes
  • Reduces clinical complications
  • Reduces the length of stay in the ICU 
  • Reduces mortality rates in the ICU by 25 percent or more 
  • Reduces the cost of care

“Although new technology is used to assist medical care, it will never replace the human needs that both patients and families have during a time of critical illness...such as a warm touch, a sense of caring, and face-to-face communication with doctors and nurses,” said Laurie McKee, RN, Director of the Avera Sacred Heart Intensive Care Unit.  “Anyone who needs ICU services at Avera Sacred Heart can be assured that nurses will always be present and available to provide immediate care for the patients and families.”