Intensive care link connects hospitals, doctors with patients

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From St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., Dr. Vincent Lem can switch on a camera and instantly monitor one of his intensive care patients – even if they are more than 250 miles away.

St. Luke’s Hospital’s intensive care unit is linked to Hays Medical Center, creating a virtual intensive care system that is believed to be the first of its kind, Lem said.

“I think the system is the wave of ICU care and acute care,” he said. “This is actually the first outlying hospital that we’re connected to.”

Six beds at Hays Medical Center are linked to St. Luke’s, where each patient’s pulse, respiration and other vital signs are continuously monitored in a bunker. Anywhere from four to six nurses and two physicians are usually at work, with the system watching over about 80 patients altogether.

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