Role of Tele-ICU in Pediatric Critical Care
Like adults, the occurrence of life-threatening diseases is quite eminent amongst children as well. According to a report, almost 500,000 toddlers cope with critical health conditions every year.
Another research considers sepsis to be the most common issue amongst children, as almost 75,000 children tend to be affected by it. Around 53,000 youngsters also lose their life due to lethal congenital diseases, heritable disorders, and extreme prematurity.
Doctor with stethoscope. Baby without clothes. Examination by a doctor.[/caption]
Therefore, to treat such severe conditions, a healthcare organization has to take the help of the ICU. Here are some facilities that an ICU infrastructure can offer to cure a child –
- IVs or intravenous catheters, which are used to insert medications and fluids in a child’s body (usage of an IV is quite common, as they are used almost 300-million times in the USA-based hospitals only)
- Monitors for checking the heart and breathing rate of the child
- Ventilators for helping a child to breathe appropriately (more common amongst asthma patients)
- Multi-disciplinary support of all vital organs: Cardiac, hemodynamic, renal etc.
- Ability to take vital Decisions with conviction and without wastage of vital time.
How Does Tele-ICU Fit In?
In essence, the ICU infrastructure is quite rare (due to the high management price) and, thus, less accessible for most people. For instance, there is only one pediatric ICU bed available for almost 18,542 children in the USA. For India, numbers would be even worse.
Hence, many centers are implementing a Tele-ICU system to avert such an eminent scarcity of critical healthcare services. A report suggests that almost 47.6% of hospitals have begun using this technology to treat their patients in the U.S.
The numbers will increase even more during the post-COVID-19 era. If we see the Indian scenario, it’s even more dismal as the whole focus has always been adult Critical Care. But as the earlier waves have exposed the lacunae of Adult Critical Care, which was managed by Tele-ICUs like eNextICU, the anticipation that the third wave might be more partial to children has already caused the Healthcare professionals and policymakers to lose their sleep. Luckily, the answer should be no different than for the earlier two waves- TeleICU.
So, how is Tele-ICU going to aid the children in treating their health issues? Here are some of the instances that can answer this question properly.
- Tele-ICU for Treating Patients in Remote Settings: A Tele-ICU infrastructure is used to treat people living in remote areas. With it, a Critical Care consultant can monitor their patient through a camera and assess their condition thoroughly. Due to such virtual presence, it becomes easier for the doctor to diagnose health conditions and treat it accurately. The same principal as applied for adults can be replicated for children also
- Tele-ICU for Critical Patients or During Transport: Due to the severity of a disease, many people tend to lose their life while traveling by ambulance. However, recent research on this topic has suggested that almost 25.8% of such deaths can be prevented by providing remote critical care. This is where Tele-ICU can be helpful. Transporting children is more so challenging and risky. If we are able to cut down on such risky manoeuvers, more precious lives can be saved.
- Tele-ICU for Hospitalized Children: Even if the child is in a hospital setting with ICU care, availability of a trained pediatric intensivist is not easy. There is a dearth of Pediatric Intensive care units and specialists even in Metro cities, so hoping to find one in smaller and remote areas is almost impossible. TeleICU team of pediatric intensivists can easily bridge this demand supply gap
- Third Wave of CoVID-19: If what the analysts say is true, the third wave can be bit harsh on the pediatric population. If such a scenario erupts, we would be left struggling to manage our pediatric patients. Without doubt, ramping up the healthcare infrastructure and manpower is of immense value, doing the same with TeleICU can improve our scenario and outcomes
The introduction of Tele-ICU infrastructure has proved to be quite crucial to counter the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. By implementing this technology, e-Next ICU has already reduced the mortality rate by 40%. Hopefully, it will lower the morbidity and mortality in the pediatric segment and especially with the third wave of CoVID 19 around the corner.