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Remote monitoring now live, allows for constant, expert care of critically ill patients
MILWAUKEE, Wis.—Through a first-of-its-kind partnership among independent health
systems, patients in eastern Wisconsin hospitals now have access to an enhanced level of
intensive care through remote electronic monitoring by intensivists⎯board certified physicians
trained to treat critically ill patients.
Critical Care Solutions™, a Virtual ICU initiative, provides additional ICU services using eICU®
technology to multiple hospitals from a single command center. It is the first collaboration in the
country to link ICUs from independent health care systems. Through the Menomonee Falls
command center, Critical Care Solutions supplies constant observation, immediate physician
access and rapid response to ICU patients at Appleton Medical Center, Froedtert Hospital in
Milwaukee and Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah. Bellin Hospital in Green Bay and
Community Memorial Hospital in Menomonee Falls will join the network in early 2006.
“This partnership is a national model for coordinating care among independent health systems,”
said Joseph J. Hine, MD, chief medical officer for Critical Care Solutions and assistant professor
of pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “Through this
partnership, Critical Care Solutions will improve patient outcomes, lower costs and provide
unprecedented access to this technology for health systems across the state and possibly beyond.”
The launch of Critical Care Solutions is the first initiative for Quality Health Solutions, a new
multi-system health care partnership created to improve outcomes for patients and generate cost
efficiencies. Quality Health Solutions is a joint venture between Bellin Health in Green Bay,
Froedtert & Community Health in Milwaukee and ThedaCare of the Fox Cities. The Medical
College of Wisconsin is a strategic affiliate of Critical Care Solutions and is providing boardcertified
critical care specialists, including faculty and community physicians, to staff the Virtual
“This partnership allows us to leverage the latest technology to deliver the best care,” said Rick
Born, CEO of Quality Health Solutions. “The Critical Care Solutions Virtual ICU is a way for
hospitals to give their patients an additional level of intensivist care, which studies show lowers
ICU mortality rates, decreases length of stay and improves outcomes.”
John Toussaint, MD, ThedaCare president and CEO, is enthusiastic about both the cooperation
and the advances in care represented by the Virtual ICU. “We believe our collaboration will result
in even more opportunities to work together to improve the quality of care for patients. This new
system will develop new benchmarks of care that will benefit all of our patients,” he said.
All 129 critical care beds at the five participating hospitals will be monitored by the command
center. The system can provide intensivist coverage and intervention for up to 250 beds, allowing
other hospitals to gain access to technology and expertise previously out of reach.
“We hope to expand to other hospitals so that their on-site critical care teams receive the
increased intensivist support that so clearly benefits patients,” said George Kerwin, president and
CEO of Bellin Health in Green Bay. “The Virtual ICU is an opportunity for community and
regional hospitals to provide their patients with the best ICU care available.”
William D. Petasnick, president and CEO of Froedtert & Community Health, also lauds the
benefits of the partnership. “The strategic affiliation of the Medical College of Wisconsin with
this dynamic partnership marks a new and promising milestone for patients and health care
consumers,” he said. “The participants have come together to create an opportunity to improve
patient outcomes, reduce costs and create value that is often difficult to find. Clearly, this is a
win-win situation for everyone.”
The technology connects expert care delivered by critical care nurses and attending physicians
with the specialized skills of intensivists, who are in high demand and scarce supply. The Virtual
ICU becomes a “second set of eyes” for the physicians and nurses at the bedside, and gives them
access to additional expertise, particularly during crucial night-time, weekend and holiday hours.
The Virtual ICU is based on the eICU® program developed by VISICU in response to economic
barriers faced by most hospitals in staffing their ICUs with board-certified intensive care
specialists. VISICU, provides the eICU® command center technology, software and protocols for
Critical Care Solutions that enable the specialized, constant care required in critical care settings.
In 2000, Sentara Healthcare, a six-hospital system in Norfolk, Virginia, became the first in the
nation to install VISICU’s eICU care model. A June 2004 study of the program showed a 27
percent reduction in ICU mortality, a 17 percent reduction in both ICU and overall length of stay
and savings of $2,150 per patient or $3 million annually. More than 150 hospitals in 21 states use
VISICU’s eICU method. That represents more than 4,000 beds in more than 300 ICUs.
Quality Health Solutions is a joint venture among three eastern Wisconsin health care systems:
Bellin Health in Green Bay, Froedtert & Community Health in Milwaukee, and ThedaCare in the
Fox Cities. The partnership provides an ownership structure for various shared initiatives
promotes collaboration and brings together experts, technology and strategies to improve quality
outcomes and reduce costs.
Bellin Health (www.bellin.org) is an integrated health care delivery system comprised of Bellin
Hospital, Bellin Psychiatric Center and Bellin Health Family Medical Centers, 19 primary
physician clinics located throughout Northeast Wisconsin; and Bellin College of Nursing. Bellin
Health is known for its emphasis on preventative health care and is the region’s leader in heart,
orthopedics, digestive health, mental health and primary care medicine. For more information
about Bellin Health, contact Tom Schoffelman, [email protected], at 920-433-7841.
Froedtert & Community Health (www.froedtert.com & www.communitymemorial.com) is a
regional hospital system formed in 2001 by Froedtert Hospital and Community Memorial
Hospital. Joining the capabilities of a 196-bed community hospital and a 434-bed academic
medical center, Froedtert & Community Health delivers nationally recognized, cost-effective
healthcare treatment and technologies from two hospitals and multiple clinic and program sites in
Southeastern Wisconsin. In 2004, adult patient admissions for Froedtert & Community Health
exceeded 31,000. For more information about Froedtert Hospital, contact Carolyn Bellin,
[email protected], at 414-805-2057, or Kathy Sieja, [email protected], at 414-805-2618. For
more information about Community Memorial Hospital, contact Kerry Freiberg,
[email protected] at 262-251-1001.
ThedaCare™ (www.thedacare.org) is a community health system consisting of three hospitals,
Appleton Medical Center, Theda Clark Medical Center and New London Family Medical Center,
ThedaCare Physicians, ThedaCare Behavioral Health, a home care and senior services division
and other healthcare services. Joint ventures include the Fox Cities Community Health Center,
Gold Cross Ambulance and the Appleton Heart Institute. ThedaCare is the largest employer in
Northeast Wisconsin with 5,000 employees. For more information about ThedaCare, contact John
Gillespie, [email protected], at 920-830-5846, or Megan Wilcox,
[email protected], at 920-830-5847.