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Published on Apr 29, 2014
Critical care is important in America. There are approximately 6,400 ICUs in the US with 95,000 ICU beds. These beds represent 15% of hospital beds and ICU care accounts for almost 1% of the GDP.
The ICU is a crucial component of the spectrum of inpatient care and hospital-based informatics which stretches from the Emergency Department, operating rooms, interventional procedural suites, post anesthesia care unit to the wards. However, the ICU is also a semi-autonomous, mini-hospital that cares for the sickest of all hospitalized patients utilizing the highest staff to patient ratio within the hospital as well as a myriad of costly and advanced devices, consumables and informatics systems. The Intelligent Hospital format allows the visitor to both conceptualize and visualize how the ICU fits into the overall hospital care paradigm and how the technologies interact within the ICU patient room and across the ICU.
The ICU patient room at its core includes a patient bed, physiological monitor, mechanical ventilator, and infusion pumps as well as a medical utility system that houses these devices and brings medical gasses, vacuum, data ports, and power to the bedside. The room also contains communication systems, wired ports and a variety of wireless access devices. A connectivity envelope surrounds the patient to help bring the patient, staff, medical devices (really informatics platforms), supplies and ICU and hospital middleware as well as the hospital's bed management system and electronic medical record (EMR) into an informatics continuum. This envelope permits advanced monitoring of all aspects of care, the projection of imaginative displays that integrate diverse systems to create a modern view of the patient and the room's environment, and real time locating systems that not only track assets but link with other middleware to push forward innovative ICU programming and help solve complex problems.
We hope that you enjoy your visit to the Intelligent Hospital and the ICU and come away with new thoughts and possibilities to advance informatics and care in your own ICUs.
Neil A Halpern MD is Chief of Critical Care Medicine and Medical Director of Respiratory Therapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, NY. He is a Professor of Medicine and Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medical College, NY. Dr. Halpern is a Master of the College of Critical Care Medicine and a Fellow of the American Colleges of Physicians and Chest Physicians.