TCC Strategies for Covid-19

March 05, 2021

Telecritical Care Clinical and Operational Strategies in Response to COVID-19

Jaspal Singh; Michael B. Green; Scott Lindblom; Michael S. Lindblom; Michael S. Reif


The cororavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) pandemic has strained intensive care unit (ICU) material and human resources to global crisis levels. The risks of staffing challenges and clinician exposure are of significant concern. One resource, telecritical care (TCC), has the potential to optimize efficiency, maximize safety, and improve quality of care provided amid large-scale disruptions, but its role in pandemic situations is only loosely defined.

Planning and Preparation Phase

We propose strategic initiatives by which TCC may act as a force multiplier for pandemic preparedness in response to COVID-19, utilizing a tiered approach for increasing surge capacity needs. The goals involved usage of TCC to augment ICU capacity, optimize safety, minimize personal protective equipment (PPE) use, improve efficiencies, and enhance knowledge of managing pandemic response.

Implementation Phase

A phased approach utilizing TCC would involve implementing remote capabilities across the enterprise to accomplish the goals outlined. The hardware and software needed for initial expansion to cover 275 beds included $956,670 for mobile carts and $173,106 for home workstations. Team role deployment and bedside clinical care centering around TCC as critical care capacity expand beyond 275 beds. Surge capacity was not reached during early phases of the pandemic in the region, allowing refinement of TCC during subsequent pandemic phases.


Leveraging TCC facilitated pandemic surge planning but required redefinition of typical ICU staffing models. The design was meant to workforce efficiencies, reduce PPE use, and minimize health care worker exposure risk, all while maintaining quality care standards through an intensivist-led model. As health care operations resumed and states reopened, TCC is being used to support shifts in volume and critical care personnel during the pandemic evolution. The lessons applied may help health care systems through variable phases of the pandemic.

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