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An extra set of eyes, ears will be on surgical patients recovering at Banner Thunderbird


GLENDALE, Ariz. (April 2, 2012) – Banner Thunderbird Medical Center is the first hospital in the Valley to begin using a high-tech remote monitoring system to provide an extra layer of observation for patients recovering from surgery.

Two patient bays in Banner Thunderbird’s surgery recovery area are now specially equipped with video cameras, microphones and speakers to allow critical care nurses and physicians located in a central monitoring station located on the campus of Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa to monitor patients and their vital signs, as well as communicate with the patients and staff in the recovery bays.

Banner Health was the first health care provider in the metro Phoenix area to use this system, called iCare, to monitor patients remotely. Today, Banner hospitals use the iCare technology to monitor critically ill patients in their intensive care units.

Banner Thunderbird is the first to expand the use of iCare technology to the post-operative area of the hospital for the purpose of monitoring patients coming out of anesthesia. Patients may remain in the recovery area, called the Post Anesthesia Recovery Unit (PACU), for up to two hours after surgery before they are transported to the appropriate unit.

From the Mesa command center, critical care specialists can pick up nearly imperceptible changes in a patient's condition or vital signs. Because post-surgery patients are so medically fragile, this early warning system can help head off potentially life-threatening complications.

The ceiling camera can look at the patient in a very detailed manner and see the color of the skin, the armband on the patient, check blood values, see what is hanging on their IV pumps and can do a complete physical exam with the support of the hospital staff.

When they detect a problem or reason for concern, they can talk live to the caregivers at the bedside via voice and video. This timely response has been proven to shorten hospital stays and reduce patient complications. The remote specialists are not a replacement for any caregivers at the hospital but rather extra observers who have immediate access to the patient's vital signs, medical records, test results, X-rays, and other items found in the medical record.

"There are times when a patient comes out of a surgical procedure in the evening or on a weekend that may be a scheduled or emergency case" said Joshua Bloomstone, MD, who has been instrumental in getting iCare for the PACU. "Some of these are highly acute patients that need special care and special observation and iCare is an additional layer of care that can be provided for the patient and nurses who are on duty in the PACU at that time."

Lynn Stevens, senior manager for the PACU, said the system in the PACU has already begun to improve patient outcomes, citing a recent situation in which a patient who had come out of surgery began to take a turn for the worse. "With the help of the iCare team, we were able to provide the necessary treatments and do some extra things that were unplanned. The patient became an ICU admission and ended up with a much better clinical outcome as a result of the help of the iCare personnel"

About Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center – part of Banner Health, a nonprofit health system with 23 hospitals throughout the West—is a 514-bed hospital offering surgical services, obstetrics and gynecology, emergency care, behavioral health services and heart care. It is Glendale’s largest private employer with 2,800 employees and 1,200 physicians.

Contact: Barry Iselin, PR Specialist
Contact: 602-865-5779
Banner Thunderbird Medical Center
5555 W. Thunderbird Road
Glendale, AZ 85306

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