GSBS Student Publications


Hospital Mortality, Length of Stay, and Preventable Complications Among Critically Ill Patients Before and After Tele-ICU Reengineering of Critical Care Processes

Student Author(s)

Huifang Zhao

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Information Services; Department of Cell Biology; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences; Department of Anesthesiology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Academic Medical Centers; Critical Care; Telemedicine; Intensive Care; Intensive Care Units; Outcome and Process Assessment (Health Care); Hospital Mortality; Length of Stay


Health Services Administration | Health Services Research | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Context: The association of an adult tele-intensive care unit (ICU) intervention with hospital mortality, length of stay, best practice adherence, and preventable complications for an academic medical center has not been reported.

Objective: To quantify the association of a tele-ICU intervention with hospital mortality, length of stay, and complications that are preventable by adherence to best practices.

Design, Setting, and Patients: Prospective stepped-wedge clinical practice study of 6290 adults admitted to any of 7 ICUs (3 medical, 3 surgical, and 1 mixed cardiovascular) on 2 campuses of an 834-bed academic medical center that was performed from April 26, 2005, through September 30, 2007. Electronically supported and monitored processes for best practice adherence, care plan creation, and clinician response times to alarms were evaluated.

Main Outcome Measures: Case-mix and severity-adjusted hospital mortality. Other outcomes included hospital and ICU length of stay, best practice adherence, and complication rates.

Results: The hospital mortality rate was 13.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 11.9%-15.4%) during the preintervention period compared with 11.8% (95% CI, 10.9%-12.8%) during the tele-ICU intervention period (adjusted odds ratio [OR], 0.40 [95% CI, 0.31-0.52]). The tele-ICU intervention period compared with the preintervention period was associated with higher rates of best clinical practice adherence for the prevention of deep vein thrombosis (99% vs 85%, respectively; OR, 15.4 [95% CI, 11.3-21.1]) and prevention of stress ulcers (96% vs 83%, respectively; OR, 4.57 [95% CI, 3.91-5.77], best practice adherence for cardiovascular protection (99% vs 80%, respectively; OR, 30.7 [95% CI, 19.3-49.2]), prevention of ventilator-associated pneumonia (52% vs 33%, respectively; OR, 2.20 [95% CI, 1.79-2.70]), lower rates of preventable complications (1.6% vs 13%, respectively, for ventilator-associated pneumonia [OR, 0.15; 95% CI, 0.09-0.23] and 0.6% vs 1.0%, respectively, for catheter-related bloodstream infection [OR, 0.50; 95% CI, 0.27-0.93]), and shorter hospital length of stay (9.8 vs 13.3 days, respectively; hazard ratio for discharge, 1.44 [95% CI, 1.33-1.56]). The results for medical, surgical, and cardiovascular ICUs were similar.

Conclusion: In a single academic medical center study, implementation of a tele-ICU intervention was associated with reduced adjusted odds of mortality and reduced hospital length of stay, as well as with changes in best practice adherence and lower rates of preventable complications.


Citation: JAMA. 2011 Jun 1;305(21):2175-83. Epub 2011 May 16. DOI 10.1001/jama.2011.697

University of Massachusetts Memorial Critical Care Operations Group: Nicholas A. Smyrnios, MD, Stephen O. Heard, MD, Nicholas Hemeon, Timothy A. Emhoff, MD, Peter H. Bagley, MD, Sara E. Cody, Michael J. Davis, Cheryl Lopriore, Greg Wongkam, Diane Henry, J. Matthias Walz, MD, Margaret Naughton, BSN, RN, Michelle M. Fernald, MS, RN, Debra Lynn Svec, RN, Karen Ostiguy, MSN, Nam Heui Kim, MD, Cheryl H. Dunnington, MS, RN, Nancy Simon, MS, RN, M. Elizabeth Colo, MS, RN, Bruce J. Simon, MD, Karen Shea, MS, RN, Wiley R. Hall, MD, Robert Spicer, RN, Lynn Harrison, MD, Naomi F. Botkin, MD, Craig Smith, MD, Gail Frigoletto, BSN, RN, Melinda Darrigo, MS, NP, Cathy Pianka, MS, RN, Linda Josephson, MS, RN, Khaldoun Faris, MD, Scott E. Kopec, MD, Scott Leonard, MBA, RRT, Cynthia T. French, MS, ANP-BC, Helen M. Flaherty, MS, RN, Sara Fine, and Walter H. Ettinger Jr.

Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

JAMA : the journal of the American Medical Association

PubMed ID