INNOVATION

U.S. Hospital Night Shifts Are Being Monitored From Australia

When the sun goes down in America, Australians are starting their day.

23/09/2016 11:21 AM AEST | Updated 23/09/2016 3:13 PM AEST
NEW! HIGHLIGHT AND SHARE
Highlight text to share via Facebook and Twitter
Getty Images
USA, California, Hawthorne

Hospital accidents are more likely to occur during the graveyard shift. When the sun goes down, much of the medical staff goes home while patients' circadian rhythms slow to sleep.

To combat the statistically significant increase in overnight incidents, six U.S. hospitals with group Emory Health care are stationing a 'remote Intensive Care Unit' in Sydney, Australia, paving the way for similar arrangements for the outback and remote areas.

The team will be based at Macquarie University's health sciences centre and hospital MQ Health where they'll monitor things like a patient's heart rate, while on-the-ground staff can contact them in patient's rooms to ask questions.

Centre director Cheryl Hiddleson told The Huffington Post Australia it was about providing support to staff.

Reza Estakhrian
If nurses are unsure, they can get in touch with the remote ICU in Australia.

"In the day time, there are the usual staff, physicians, registrars -- there are plenty of people taking care of patients but at night those people tend to go home, so there's less help and less resources," Hiddleson said.

"The expert people tend to get the choice shifts so they'll say 'no weekends, no overnights, no public holidays' and it will mean the more junior people are there at night.

"We're here in Australia to support our colleagues at the bedside during those times when experience is needed. They can call and say 'I've not done this before, walk me through it'."

Australia is one of those places most Americans know, and always dream if visiting. It also happens to be perfect in terms of night and day time being the opposite hours.Cheryl Hiddleston

She said Australia was attractive for a few reasons.

"Australia is one of those places most Americans know, and always dream if visiting. It also happens to be perfect in terms of night and day time being the opposite hours."

As for the future implications in Australia's outback, Macquarie University critical care and anaesthetics professor Michael Parr said it could make care closer to home easier.

"In Australia, these types of technologies also have far-reaching potential to support care of rural and remote patients," Parr said.

Getty Images/iStockphoto
The road to health might be shorter with remote ICU technology.

"Currently the optimal medical treatment, in a stressful setting such as the ICU, can be thousands of miles away.

"The introduction of electronically-delivered specialist care has the potential to standardise the quality of care between the CBD and the countryside."

More On This Topic

Advertisement
Advertisement