Business Case for Tele-ICUs

Fall 2014

A Business Case for Tele-intensive Care Units

Alberto Coustasse, DrPH, MD, MBA, MPH; Stacie Deslich, MA, MS; Deanna Bailey, MS; Alesia Hairston, MS; David Paul, DDS, PhDD


A tele-intensive care unit (tele-ICU) uses telemedicine in an intensive care unit (ICU) setting, applying technology to provide care to critically ill patients by off-site clinical resources. The purpose of this review was to examine the implementation, adoption, and utilization of tele-ICU systems by hospitals to determine their efficiency and efficacy as identified by cost savings and patient outcomes.


This literature review examined a large number of studies of implementation of tele-ICU systems in hospitals. Results: The evidence supporting cost savings was mixed. Implementation of a tele-ICU system was associated with cost savings, shorter lengths of stay, and decreased mortality. However, two studies suggested increased hospital cost after implementation of tele-ICUs is initially expensive but eventually results in cost savings and better clinical outcomes.


Intensivists working these systems are able to more effectively treat ICU patients, providing better clinical outcomes for patients at lower costs compared with hospitals without a tele-ICU.

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