BayCare Brings Telemedicine to Winter Haven Hospital

December 21, 2016

eCare Enhances Care of Critically Ill Patients

CLEARWATER, Fla., (December 21, 2016) --BayCare Health System is bringing telemedicine to Winter Haven Hospital in the form of eCare, to enhance the care of critically ill patients.

Combining medical expertise, technology and experienced critical care nurses and doctors, eCare is an electronic patient monitoring system that uses remote computer monitoring technology. Through this technology which includes banks of computer monitors located at a centralized location, eCare connects a specially trained team of critical care physicians and nurses to the bedside team in the hospital.

“More and more, technology is helping us in our mission to improve patient care. eCare is a great addition to our critical care departments, and we believe it can assist in taking the care of our critically ill patients to the next level,” said Steve Nierman, president, Winter Haven Hospital.

BayCare’s eCare program works through a centralized communication center called eCare Central equipped with computers that link to intensive care (ICU) rooms at BayCare hospitals.

Through two-way audio/visual equipment and high-definition cameras installed in each patient room, the eCare clinical team consisting of nurses and physicians can monitor and evaluate a patient’s condition from the communication center.  The bedside nurse, physician or any other clinical team member has the ability to call for assistance from the eCare Central team by pressing an “eLert” button mounted on the wall in each patient’s room. 

The remote clinical team can then “camera in” to the patient’s room to conduct a patient assessment and discuss care with the bedside staff and patient. The eCare Central team also remotely monitors patient vital signs, reviews lab results and care plans. Working together, the hospital team and the team located at eCare Central continually monitor critically ill patients to identify subtle changes in patient conditions.

“Through e-Care, bedside staff and e-Care staff are all part of the patient’s care team working together to provide high quality, compassionate care,” said Carol Koeppel-Olsen, vice president, patient services for all of BayCare’s hospitals in Polk County. “e-Care helps support round-the-clock access to critical care expertise, when and where it is needed,” she said.

Just like hospitals, Care Central is staffed 24 hours a day/365 days a year. eCare’s staff consists of experienced critical care nurses and board-certified intensive care physicians. Scheduled to be in eCare Central from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., eCare doctors support physicians in the hospital who continue to supervise patient care. All patient privacy guidelines and regulations are followed the same as any other hospital process involving patient care.

“Telemonitoring has been known to help improve patient care by reducing lengths of stay, lowering frequency of complications and decreasing re-admissions to the ICU,” said Koeppel-Olsen.

Launched in 2014, BayCare’s eCare currently supports 222 ICU beds in the following BayCare hospitals including:
  • BayCare Alliant, Dunedin
  • Mease Countryside, Safety Harbor
  • Mease Dunedin, DunedinMorton Plant, Clearwater
  • Morton Plant North Bay, New Port Richey
  • St. Anthony’s, St. Petersburg
  • St. Joseph’s-South, Riverview
  • St. Joseph’s-North, Lutz
In addition to ICU units, BayCare also has mobile units in use where needed within hospitals across BayCare. eCare Central is located at a BayCare Outpatient Center in central Pinellas County. “Our eCare Central location is organized into nurses’ stations with each station assigned to a particular group of patients throughout the shift, the same as a bedside nurse. This way, the nurse can effectively track a patients’ condition all during the shift,” noted Koeppel-Olsen.

Established in 1926, Winter Haven Hospital is a 529-bed facility accredited by the Joint Commission. On Aug. 30, 2013, Winter Haven Hospital joined the Tampa Bay area-based BayCare Health System. More than 300 board-certified physicians comprise our medical staff, covering specialties such as orthopedics, open heart, obstetrics and gynecology, and emergency services. In addition, the hospital is recognized as a Magnet Nursing Center of Excellence, a prestigious designation held by less than seven percent of hospitals nationwide. Winter Haven Hospital has more than 2,200 employees, making it east Polk County’s largest private employer, and has been recognized by Polk Works Workforce 2020 as one of the county’s best places to work. For more information, call (863) 293-1121 or visit

BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and west central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit