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Kaleida Introduces New Patient Monitoring Technology

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – There is a new way to watch the changing conditions of critical care patients. Kaleida Health unveiled a new enhanced intensive care system for its hospitals. It provides around the clock monitoring of ICU patients.

E-technology is now within the intensive care units of two Kaleida hospitals. Fifty-eight ICU beds at Buffalo General and Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospitals are equipped with computerized devices. Doctors and nurses can monitor vital signs and medications through a computerized system that's actually set up at the Kaleida offices inside the Larkin-at-Exchange building downtown.

Lucille Lamarca was in the critical care unit of Buffalo General Hospital this past August. She suffers from a rapid heart beat. Lamarca says when she was in distress, a camera with two-way audio would pop on and a nurse or doctor would re-assure her that help was on the way.

"The doctor said, at one point, the nurse is on the way, and everything is going to be okay. You can feel this happening," Lamarca said. "While the nurse is at the other end of the hall, the doctor was telling me, through the video camera, that the nurse is on the way."

But Lamarca says it never felt like an invasion of her privacy. She says it provided her with confidence in the critical care unit where the nursing staff is often overworked.

"They were always very conscious of how I felt about this camera being on me," Lamarca said. "They were very sensitive to my needs."

Kaleida says the ICU staff quickly responds to any subtle changes in a patient's condition monitored by the off-site staff. Kaleida's chief medical officer, Dr. Cynthia Ambres, says this improves the quality of care for patients.

"One example I like to use is if a patient's blood pressure rises, the doctors and nurses can look at the room with the camera," Ambres said. "They may see a family member visiting who could be agitating the patient, or making them happy. But that might be the reason for the rise in blood pressure, instead of bleeding."

More ICU beds at other Kaleida hospitals, including Women and Children's Hospital will go on line by the Spring.

Kaleida officials say they expect this technology to become a standard of critical care.