Telemedicine in intensive care units: Scoping review

Camille Guinemer, Martin Boeker, Daniel Fürstenau, Akira Sebastian Poncette, Björn Weiss, Rudolf Mörgeli, Felix Balzer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Background: The role of telemedicine in intensive care has been increasing steadily. Tele-intensive care unit (ICU) interventions are varied and can be used in different levels of treatment, often with direct implications for the intensive care processes. Although a substantial body of primary and secondary literature has been published on the topic, there is a need for broadening the understanding of the organizational factors influencing the effectiveness of telemedical interventions in the ICU. Objective: This scoping review aims to provide a map of existing evidence on tele-ICU interventions, focusing on the analysis of the implementation context and identifying areas for further technological research. Methods: A research protocol outlining the method has been published in JMIR Research Protocols. This review follows the PRISMA-ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews). A core research team was assembled to provide feedback and discuss findings. Results: A total of 3019 results were retrieved. After screening, 25 studies were included in the final analysis. We were able to characterize the context of tele-ICU studies and identify three use cases for tele-ICU interventions. The first use case is extending coverage, which describes interventions aimed at extending the availability of intensive care capabilities. The second use case is improving compliance, which includes interventions targeted at improving patient safety, intensive care best practices, and quality of care. The third use case, facilitating transfer, describes telemedicine interventions targeted toward the management of patient transfers to or from the ICU. Conclusions: The benefits of tele-ICU interventions have been well documented for centralized systems aimed at extending critical care capabilities in a community setting and improving care compliance in tertiary hospitals. No strong evidence has been found on the reduction of patient transfers following tele-ICU intervention.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere32264
JournalJournal of Medical Internet Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Care compliance
  • Critical care
  • Digital health
  • Health care system
  • Health technology
  • Hospital
  • Implementation
  • Intensive care unit
  • Review
  • Tele-ICU
  • Telehealth
  • Telemedicine
  • Tertiary hospitals


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