It comes as no surprise that our healthcare system has had its boundaries tested with recent events. A massive influx of patients and reduced staffing has caused healthcare facilities to look for alternative ways to ensure the care and safety of their patients. One new, now common, way of practicing healthcare has taken the form of virtual consultations. These consultations have been helpful to reduce the spread of illness as well empower doctors and nurses to be more efficient in their patient care.
But what about the patients that need to be in the hospital? How can you ensure that there are systems in place so in-patient cases are receiving proper care and attention, while also ensuring their safety and security?
Virtual-Sitters Seeing Greater Adoption
Healthcare institutions have begun to implement an innovative solution to this challenge through “virtual sitters.” These “sitters” allow for 24/7 remote observation of high-risk patients. One of the most important places to have these virtual sitters is in “high fall risk” patient rooms. These patients usually include elderly patients or patients who are undergoing/recovering from intense treatment that leave them vulnerable. A huge strain on hospital resources, exasperated by low staffing, is assigning someone to sit in the room with these patients to make sure they do not attempt to get up without assistance, which is a common occurrence as some patients can be forgetful or stubborn. With virtual sitters, a nurse can safely and efficiently monitor multiple patients and then direct hands-on care to those who need it in the moment. By implementing this solution, healthcare institutions can easily address the safety concern of insufficient staff-to-patient ratio and save money too.
From a technology standpoint, while virtual sitters that utilize video security cameras enable nurses to see patients, without high-quality audio devices, nurses are not fully equipped to observe, speak to and respond to patient needs. Without audio, it’s as if nurses are watching a silent movie. Audio plays an instrumental role in providing critical information about a scene, whether its important dialogue a patient speaks or the sound of a something breaking that warrants immediate assistance. These are some of the reasons why healthcare facilities are incorporating audio solutions into patient observation systems.
Use Case: Leading Nationwide Healthcare Provider
Case in point, a leading, nationwide healthcare facility was looking to add audio to its virtual sitter solution. The healthcare institution chose to install Louroe Electronics’ VeriFact® 555. This speaker microphone can easily be placed onto the ceiling of a room, or this device can be mobile by being fashioned onto a cart that will be able to roll into whatever location has a need. With the addition of audio to a hospital’s virtual sitter program, medical staff increase their overall situational awareness of patients.
Results and Impact
By incorporating audio with their virtual sitters, the national healthcare provider’s nurses were able to quickly communicate with patients. If a patient attempted to get up unassisted, a reminder to stay in place until staff was able to assist was given over the speaker microphone. This healthcare facility saw a substantial reduction in falls, getting that number to below 1%. In addition to the safety improvement, the hospital was able to create a significant savings by not having to individually staff each patient.