Telemedicine can be a valuable tool in helping hospitals and clinicians adhere to clinical guidelines and best practices. Cardiac arrest management is a prime example.

Chris Gallagher, M.D., CEO of Access TeleCare talked with Healthcare IT News about telemedicine’s role in deploying best practices in cardiac arrest management:

“It’s hard to imagine a more dramatic moment in a hospital than a “Code Blue” event. And, everyone pictures a hands-on response. But the evidence-based guidelines from the American Heart Association tell us that the manager of the response shouldn’t literally be hands-on. The guidelines stipulate that the physi­cian in charge of managing the event should not also perform the associated procedures, i.e. airway device placement or defibrillation. Instead, the physician should have a 360-degree view of what’s happening and coordinate simultaneous responses from the respiratory therapist, nurses, and others in the room, rather than performing any of the procedures him or herself.

Telemedicine Cardiac Arrest Programs

In hospitals where we’ve implemented telemedicine cardiac arrest programs, the physician managing the code blue is entirely remote. The only hands that touch the patient are those of the nurses and respiratory therapists. The respiratory therapist handles airway device placement. The nurses insert any intravenous lines needed for fluids and emergency medications.

This set up, however, doesn’t mean that the physician isn’t present. The physician has a bird’s eye view of the event from a large, high-definition screen and directs and manages the multiple responsive actions in parallel. The nurses act while the respiratory therapist acts. Rather than a single person administering each procedure one at a time in a series, the whole event is managed in parallel, each team member owning their role and practicing at the top of their license. This reduces the time to effective resuscitation from minutes to seconds.”

Read the full interview here.

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