Whitfield Regional Hospital set to be the first external ICU in Alabama
Published 11:03 am Thursday, April 22, 2021
A mutual agreement between UAB Hospital and Whitfield Regional Hospital will allow Whitfield to become the first external tele-ICU in Alabama.
Dr. William Stigler, administrator of the tele-ICU at UAB, made the announcement during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at Whitfield last Thursday, April 15.
“We’re really excited about this program. We’ve been partnering with Whitfield since 2019 and have been working alongside some really great doctors and nurses,” said Stigler. “We see this as the next step in patient care by providing continuous monitoring with critical care doctors and nurses.”
Stigler said that Whitfield was chosen to be an external tele-ICU because UAB was highly impressed with the leadership of the doctors and nurses.
“It made a lot of sense with Whitfield having moved to take care of patients who were a lot sicker than they were when we first started the tele-ICU two years ago,” said Stigler. “Whitfield also does its best to keep patients close to home, and that’s part of what made them the obvious partner for this program.”
The tele-ICU includes nurses at UAB who help monitor patients at Whitfield. Stigler said they do not replace bedside nurses but instead help support Whitfield’s staff remotely.
“If there is a problem or something needs to be addressed quickly, our intensivists and critical care doctors can get on the cameras and help with whatever situation is developing,” said Stigler.
The new partnership also has several benefits for Whitfield. The program gives Whitfield the opportunity to continue supporting the community and patients who want to stay close to home. It also provides support to doctors and nurses with this monitoring and response service.
The tele-ICU will have a significant impact on improving patient care.
“I think for those patients who are especially critical and need different types of life-support, this is a good way to make sure we are continuously providing that high-quality care,” said Stigler.
Stigler also thinks it’s a great development that helps transform how ICU care can be delivered in the state.
“It’s great to see this happening in Demopolis as our first outreach site,” said Stigler. “I’m excited to see how it goes moving forward. Partnerships like this have been used elsewhere, and typically the impact is positive. We’re eager to see where it goes.”