Tele-ICUs for Covid-19

Posted August 10, 2021 by Soichi Hayashi and Andra Ferrara


Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, the use of intensive care unit telemedicine (tele-ICUs) may be one mechanism to provide patient care, particularly in rural parts of the United States. The purpose of this research was to inform hospital decision makers considering tele-ICUs, policy makers weighing immediate and longer-term funding and reimbursement decisions relative to tele-ICU care, and researchers conducting future work evaluating tele-ICUs.


Researchers compared hospitals that reported providing teleintensive care to hospitals that reported not providing teleintensive care in the 2018 American Hospital Association Annual Survey (AHAAS). Differences between groups were tested using Pearson’s chi-square (categorical variables) and t-tests (continuous variables) using 0.05 as the probability of Type 1 error. The study sample included all US short-term, acute care hospitals that responded to the AHAAS in 2018. Our key variable of interest was whether a hospital reported having any tele-ICU capabilities in the 2018 AHAAS. Other factors evaluated were ownership, region, beds, ICU beds, outpatient visits, emergency department visits, full-time employees, and whether a hospital was rural, a critical access hospital, a major teaching hospital, or part of a health system.

Conclusions and Implications

Reseaerchers found wide variation in the prevalence of tele-ICUs across HRRs and states. Future work should continue the evaluation of tele-ICU effectiveness and, if favorable, explore the variation researchers identified for improved access to teleintensive care.


Dunc Williams Jr., PhD; John Lawrence, MS; Young-Rock Hong, PhD; Aaron Winn, PhD; “Tele-ICUs for Covid-19: A Look at National Prevalence and Characteristics of Hospitals Providing Teleintensive Care”

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