Mercy SafeWatch is an innovative telemedicine program that connects our critical care patient rooms to a centralized intensive care unit (electronic ICU). This electronic ICU is staffed around the clock by doctors who specialize in critical care medicine, called intensivists, and highly trained nurses in our Mercy Virtual Care Center in Chesterfield. Using computers, in-room audio and video connections and high-speed data lines, the Mercy SafeWatch specialists provide an additional level of support to our patients’ doctors and the bedside care team.
Information on vital signs, medications, blood test results, x-rays and other information from bedside monitors is transmitted continuously to the Mercy SafeWatch center. Powerful computer systems help the team recognize early changes in vital signs to recommend corrective actions. The Mercy SafeWatch team can have a two-way conversation with nurses and doctors who are in the room, as well as with the patient. The patient also can be viewed by the Mercy SafeWatch team, if needed, through the use of a special in-room camera.
Preserving patient privacy is a Mercy priority. No recordings are made from any camera or microphone, and SafeWatch specialists only view patients in order to monitor their condition. When the camera is turned off, the camera lens is turned inward toward the wall. An audible signal (like a doorbell) sounds when the two-way microphone in the room is turned on. Patient information sent to and from the Mercy SafeWatch center is scrambled (encrypted) as it travels across the data lines, then unscrambled when the information arrives so that the authorized physicians and nurses can read it.
Studies have shown that excellent ICU care can be further improved by adding an extra layer of expertise via the Mercy SafeWatch alert technology. Mercy SafeWatch allows us to extend coverage by these specially trained doctors and nurses throughout our hospital system. Small changes can be identified through the continual monitoring and trending of vital signs, resulting in quicker interventions and reducing clinical complications. Because the patient’s overall care is enhanced, it can also cut down on the time spent in the critical care unit.
Mercy Hospital St. Louis has four intensive care units, located on the 4th floor of the main hospital. Learn more.