Philips and Vidyo Team up for Telemedicine in the ICU

Philips and Vidyo, provider of a teleconferencing platform, announced their new partnership today. Philips will start rolling out the resulting telehealth technology in intensive care units.

The complete package takes this and that from two existing offerings from each company. Philips has had a version of an ICU program, called eICU, for about 12 years, and Vidyo isn’t just a telehealth provider. Its teleconferencing program has many applications — such as plain old remote conferencing. For the collaboration, Vidyo enriched its API in order to integrate it with Philips’ ICU system.

The announcement comes a week before health care professionals and telehealth vendors gather in San Jose, CA for the American Telemedicine Association 2012 meeting. Telemedicine has been said to have the potential to improve delivery of care and lower heath care costs; it can be used to connect with patients in remote locations as well as eliminate unnecessary visits to urgent care centers. But in the ICU, it’s geared toward helping to solve other specific problems.

“We know there are studies indicating there are millions of dollars that could be saved with the current care model just by having intensivist-led teams to ensure that we’re making the right decisions for the patients in the ICU,” Robert Kenney, director of marketing programs at Philips Healthcare, said.

But highly trained ICU clinicians often have a short career because of the job’s physical demands. So sometimes the most knowledgeable and experienced person isn’t in the room.

“In the eICU model we’re actually able to leverage that knowledge base even longer because now those more skilled nurses can be in a remote location and actually be providing oversight to the staff that’s physically administering care to the patient,” Kenney said.

Vidyo and Philips said they’re talking about how they can extend their collaboration.

“We’re looking beyond the eICU to see how, generically, Philips can leverage the APIs also for other product lines. Philips is also very strong in home patient monitoring,” Amnon Gavish, senior VP of vertical solutions at Vidyo, said.

The Vidyo application will be incorporated into Philips’ next software release before the end of this year.