The need to increase access to health care in rural America is a big priority for state and local governments. A new program to electronically monitor intensive-care patients in rural hospitals may be an idea worth keeping an eye on. The program, known as Maryland eCare, is made up of six rural Maryland hospitals facing a shortage of emergency room doctors. Using a system developed by the medical technology company Visicu called eICU, doctors and nurses at a remote monitoring center will oversee as many as 150 patients at the six hospitals overnight via a video camera and computer terminal positioned in each patient's room. The eICU system sends vital signs, test results and other information to the remote center, enabling doctors to alert on-site nurses of any physical changes and recommend corrective action. Funded by a $3 million grant, the program's monitoring center is based at Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del. For more information, contact the hospital's eCare ICU Telemedicine program at 302-623-0600. To read about another unique rural health idea, check out a recent feature here on a new electronic prescribing pilot program in Tennessee.