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Inside Parkland’s Tactical Care Unit Where Access Physicians’ Tele-ICU Model Is Delivering Care for Critically Ill Patients With COVID-19

When COVID-19 began spreading across the U.S., hospitals of all sizes sought our help to augment, and in some cases create anew, ICU capacity for patients critically ill with the virus.

Respiratory therapist Morgan Davis (left) and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists Brian Farrell and Brittany O’Toole take notes as Dr. Padmaja Reddy (on-screen) virtually assists in a round of checks on coronavirus patients at Parkland Memorial Hospital.(Ryan Michalesko / Staff Photographer) See their coverage here.

With more and more patients needing the care of pulmonary and critical care specialists, hospitals quickly realized the value of our expertise in high acuity telemedicine. One of those hospitals was Parkland Health and Hospital System in Dallas. A globally recognized public health care system that delivers more than one million patient visits annually, Parkland’s clinical and executive leadership knew patient need would be high and that external resources would be required.

In just a few short weeks, we implemented our tele-ICU model within the hospital’s “Tactical Care Unit.” That unit and the backbreaking work of the 300 nurses, physicians, respiratory therapists and other health care professionals who work within it was movingly profiled in the June 28 edition of the Dallas Morning News, as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Texas grows exponentially each day.

Our collaborative, team-based ICU model is demonstrated perfectly in a simple image featured in the article. An on-site respiratory therapist and certified nurse anesthetists are rounding on the nearly 60 severely ill patients with one of our pulmonary and critical care specialists as she appears on the screen of our telemedicine cart. When we say that we provide “more than telemedicine,” this is what we mean. We provide state-of-the-art technology in the service of the most advanced medicine to make sure hospitals have the resources they need to deliver the best care for all their patients.

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