Virtual ICU’s help rural hospitals

Local News

ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The pandemic has hit rural hospitals especially hard.

The rise in caseloads, combined with limited ICU space, is presenting unique challenges for them. UW Health came up with a novel solution to those challenges: virtual ICU’s.

The EICU program, as it is formally called, has been around since 2008, but recently expanded. It involves doctors treating the ICU patients virtually from UW Health’s Madison office. Patients no longer have to travel as far for care as a result.

Jessica Faude works at one of the hospitals served by the program, and she said that one of its biggest benefits is patients being closer to family.

“Having that,…that family member be able to come and see that patient and be involved in the plan of care,…um really is important to us, and it’s why we like to keep patients local,” said Faude, Interim Vice President of Patient Care Services at Aspirus Medford Hospital.

The ICU program serves rural hospitals throughout Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin.

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