Telemedicine Research Center, National Research Institute of Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases (NRITLD), Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Science, Tehran, Iran,
Tobacco Prevention and Control Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran,
Tracheal Diseases Research Center, NRITLD, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background: Despite various applications of tele-ICU, there are still many questions about its costs and advantages in ICU. Some of its advantages are accelerating consultations and bringing physicians’ satisfaction from teleconsultation outcomes. The aim of this study is to discuss these advantages. Materials and Methods: Initially a telemedicine network was implemented and in the case of having no related specialist, the physicians used telemedicine network to perform specialized tele-consultation to thoracic surgery ICU patients. ICU patient’s documents during a year before tele-consultation were studied and delay time in consultation was recorded and compared between the two phases. Finally, the physicians’ satisfaction with tele-consultation was evaluated. Results: Fifty-eight tele-consultations in various medical fields were carried out, of which 27 were neurology cases. From the time of receiving a consultation request to its performance, the mean time was 1.3 days in teleconsultation. Tele-consultations were given 2.5 times faster than face to face method. In evaluation of physicians’ satisfaction, 82.75% of them were fully satisfied from tele-consultation, 12.06% were partly satisfied and 5.17% were not satisfied. Conclusion: Since the length of hospitalization in ICU is crucial due to heavy costs of treatment, high risk of contamination and limited beds, performing timely consultation is a key factor in reducing hospitalization period. Teleconsultation in thoracic surgery ICU not only accelerates patient care, but also results in higher physician satisfaction.