Truman VA Intensive Care Unit opened new technology to provide more safety for patients

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COLUMBIA - The Truman VA’s Intensive Care Unit (ICU) went live with a new Tele-ICU technology on Tuesday.

Tele-ICU is a supportive service provided by VA intensivists in Minneapolis, Minnesota. An intensivist is a physician who has special critical care training. 

“It provides instant access to a board certified intensivist to help care for our patients locally,” Chief of Specialty Care at Truman VA, Jeremy Johnson said. “They can come up with a treatment care plan for the patient.” 

Johnson said nurses and physicians will be able to push a button and intensivists from either Minneapolis, Chicago or Iowa City will be on a screen at the foot of a patient’s bed in around a minute. 

“It just provides 24 hours-a-day coverage where you have someone that is awake and on duty and not at home that you have to call and wake from sleep,” Johnson said. “It provides another level of safety for our patients.” 

According to the Minneapolis VA Health Care System’s website, there are four key components to the Tele-ICU system: 

  • Telecommunications equipment in the patient’s ICU room 
  • Tele-ICU software that trackers and monitors real-time physiological data
  • Tele-ICU support center ability to access VA hospitals all around the U.S. 
  • The Intensivists themselves

Each of the 14-beds in the ICU at Truman VA are connected to the Tele-ICU network.