Daughter able to monitor father’s status in ICU

We just recently experienced a situation in which a patient arrived with a few seizures, having had a stroke in the past. There was some concern of a new stroke but the more history we got about the last few hours it became clear it was most likely this was a seizure related to the old stroke from 2 years ago and that his recovery from the acute event should be very good, as long as no new complications arose. His wife was present along with a close friend. His daughter is a social worker in another state 200 miles away. She has 2 small children and a teenager, so there would have been challenges travelling between metropolitan areas on a Friday.  We got her email address from her mother in the ER and right from the neurologists’s smartphone we sent a brief email to her, confirming she was the right person (for privacy reasons this is our general practice the FIRST time a patient or family is sent an email, to confirm their identity and that they alone check this email account).  That confirmation occurred within minutes.

Early on the following day, his daughter wanted to be able to “visit” to see how he and her mom were doing. We sent an email with a hyperlink that sent her right into the “neuro icu virtual consult room” and ran a test to make sure the webcam, sound and connection were ok on her end. All went well in 5 minutes.  We then arranged that 30 minutes later we would have her visit virtually. She “pinged” that same link and it rang and launched into a high quality video interaction on the mobile cart that we had already wheeled to the patient’s bedside. His daughter was able to see him gradually awaken from some of the sedating agents, talk to him to let him know she was “with” him, and talk with her mother to review the situation and feel that the whole family was present at the bedside. His daughter was able to meet the nurses and one of the transport assistants attending to her dad. We then rolled the cart around to show her the IV lines and monitors and the room, and then a brief “tour” of the Neuro ICU so that she could be comfortable with the nature of the facility, the staff caring for her father, and hear directly from her mom her impression of the care.   The level of confidence in the care process was brought to a level such that she did not even need to leave home but would plan to followup online each day if desired.  Even those of us who do this frequently had tears in our eyes. THIS is WHY we do virtual care. The technology is merely there to enable the process to occur seamlessly.

Please note, a copy of this image, marked up for privacy, was sent to the patient’s daughter for her approval before anything was posted online in this story.  Click the image to expand.

Also, 24 hours later, after the MRI scan was done, we were able to email to his daughter and review online an anonymized snapshot of select MRI images with a few comments of explanation and reassurance.


About Andrew Barbash, MD

Neurology Telemedicine affiliated with Specialists on Call Virtual Care Services

Posted on May 14, 2011, in Case Studies in Virtual Care, Virtual Care. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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