Resurrection Health Care, a six-hospital system in Chicago, has also found success—both financial and in improved outcomes and reduced length of stay—with its remote ICU. Resurrection's return on investment in the program—which monitors 182 beds and costs the system about $6 million a year—is calculated using a variety of metrics, including length of stay.
In the past two years, the organization saved about 9,200 ICU days. Using a conservative formula of $1,250 a day, that's a savings of about $11.5 million over two years, says Rebecca J. Zapatochny Rufo, RN, Resurrection's eICU operations director.
The system has seen a decrease in length of stay after a patient is released from the ICU, she adds, saving about 18,500 non-ICU days over two years. At $300 per day, that's an additional $5.6 million in savings.
But the most important bottom line, Rufo says, is that the virtual ICU has saved an estimated 1,090 lives in that two-year period. Yes, the infrastructure and technology are expensive, she says. But the cost of poor quality, complications, and death are greater. "That's your return on investment," she says. "There's no price tag that can fit that. Quality of care is priceless."
To read more about the eICU programs at LVHN and Resurrection Health Care, see Virtual ICUs: Big Investment, Bigger Returns, which is the third in a three-part series on how technology impacts the cost of healthcare.