Royal Philips has announced that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has awarded a contract to Philips to expand VA’s tele-critical care program, creating the world’s largest system to provide veterans remote access to intensive care expertise, regardless of their location. The 10-year contract, which enables VA to invest up to $100 million with Philips for tele-critical care technology and services, leverages Philips history of innovation, including research into technologies that can better support veterans, telehealth, tele-critical care (eICU), diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions and patient monitoring.
VA is the largest integrated health care system in the U.S., consisting of more than 1,700 sites and serving nearly nine million veterans each year. It has become a leader in developing telehealth services in order to improve access to care and federate care delivery. In fiscal year 2019 alone, VA delivered more than 2.5 million telehealth episodes. Additionally, VA was able to expand video to home appointments from approximately 10,000 to 120,000 per week between February and May of 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the pandemic has increased the share of Americans participating in telehealth from 11% in 2019 to 46% today, with healthcare systems reporting a 50 to 175-fold increase in telehealth volume compared to pre-pandemic levels [1, 2].
As part of an overall telehealth program, eICU enables a co-located team of specially trained critical care physicians and nurses to remotely monitor patients in the ICU regardless of patient location. With VA managing 1,800 ICU beds nationwide, eICU not only gives patients access to specialists, but also helps them deliver on the Quadruple Aim: optimizing care costs, enhancing clinician and patient satisfaction and improving outcomes. Research has shown that patients in eICU settings spend less time in the ICU and have better outcomes. Moreover, family members can talk to clinicians via integrated audio and video technology to support decision making.
“VA’s relationship with Philips will help to expand and improve our tele-critical care program,” said Robert Wilkie, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “This is particularly critical to provide Veterans access to quality health care when and where they need it and for improving their health outcomes.”
Philips is the global leader in centralized eICU. More than 20% of U.S. adult ICU beds and 1 in 8 adult ICU patients are monitored by a 24/7 continuous demand model powered by the eICU Program, which combines A/V technology, predictive analytics, data visualization and advanced reporting capabilities [3, 4]. The core of these proven solutions is Philips eCareManager software, which uses advanced analytics and AI to synthesize patient data and deliver actionable insights to support proactive care in coordination with onsite staff.
“Philips is committed to improving the lives of 3 billion people a year by 2030 and is working closely with VA to support one of our most important initiatives: improving the health of our service men and women,” said Vitor Rocha, Chief Market Leader for Philips North America. “By connecting advanced telehealth technologies, clinical data, as well as clinicians, patients and their families, Philips can help VA make virtual care a reality and deliver quality health care for one of our most deserving communities: our nation’s veterans.”
For over 45 years, Philips has worked closely with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs, with over 50% of all VA Hospitals or VISNs using Philips imaging solutions and over 35% using Philips critical care systems. Philips CPAP machines are also used by over 50,000 Veterans suffering from sleep apnea. Today, Philips continues to work closely with the DoD, VA and academic partners to drive innovations that can better support care for troops, as well as telehealth technologies that can bring care closer to home for our nation’s veterans.
 Representative of the total Philips eICU licensed beds as a percentage coverage relative to total US adult ICU beds