Why Now is the Best Time to Implement a Remote Patient Monitoring Solution

Why Now is the Best Time to Implement a Remote Patient Monitoring Solution

During the pandemic, many hospitals leveraged telehealth to remotely monitor patients within the hospital as a way to keep patients and staff safe. This is just one example of the innovative ways providers have leveraged telehealth since its broad adoption during the pandemic.

Even though the country has reopened in terms of in-person healthcare, we should take advantage of the momentum we’ve already achieved and look for other innovative ways to use telehealth to improve patient care. One area of great opportunity is a remote patient monitoring solution (RPM).

RPM enables providers to connect with patients no matter where they or their patients are located. Video and audio technology, as well as digital health tools like smart watches, blood glucose monitors, and blood pressure cuffs, enable providers to remotely monitor a patient’s vitals in real-time. The steady stream of health data also enables providers to gain insight into trends over time and proactively intervene when issues arise.

 

It is estimated that 70.6 million patients in the U.S. will use RPM tools by 2025, significantly increasing the opportunity for remote patient monitoring solutions.

Following are three key areas providers should consider when implementing a remote patient monitoring solution.

Post-operative care

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (PHRQ), nearly 20% of patients experience some type of adverse event in just the first three weeks after discharge from a hospital or emergency department, most of which are preventable. RPM can help mitigate these issues by enabling providers to continuously monitor patients during the critical period after discharge, whether the patient is at home or in another care environment.

In the case where a problematic issue is identified, providers can quickly intervene to prevent complications and readmissions, which can also help improve reimbursement while keeping patients well on the road to recovery.

 

Two-thirds of annual ED visits—or 18 million visits—for privately insured people in the U.S. are avoidable.

 

Chronic disease management

In the U.S., 73% of our total healthcare spending and 93% of Medicare spending goes toward managing chronic conditions. These conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and stroke cost the U.S. more than $650 billion each year.

girl talking to doctor with virtual care platform

As our nation ages, the incidence of chronic disease and the amount we spend on it is likely to grow. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that by the year 2030, 20% of the U.S. population will be age 65 or older. Since older individuals typically have more complex chronic conditions that require greater clinical care, leveraging RPM can help reduce costs and improve care for this often vulnerable population.

Chronic conditions, however, aren’t reserved for older adults. Sixty percent of all adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic condition and 40% have two or more. Being able to continuously monitor a patient’s condition enables providers to proactively intervene before complications can occur. This, in turn, helps reduce hospitalizations, readmissions, and ED visits. The result is more effective chronic disease management, improved outcomes and reimbursement, and an enhanced patient experience.

 

According to research, RPM can reduce hospitalizations by 35% and visits to the emergency department by 68% for patients with certain chronic conditions.

Rural healthcare

According to the CDC, individuals living in rural areas are at greater risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory disease, and accidental injury than are those living in urban areas. One of the most significant issues is a lack of access to care.  

Forty-six million Americans live in rural areas, and one in four say there are times when they cannot access the care they need. This is understandable since there are just 39.8 physicians for every 100,000 of these individuals. 

RPM presents a clear opportunity to reach this underserved population. By removing the need for rural patients to drive long distances to urban areas to receive care, RPM can help ensure high-quality care is available when and where it’s most needed. This is especially important for high-risk cases such as pregnant mothers with conditions like gestational diabetes. RPM enables regular and continuous virtual monitoring, thereby enhancing the quality of care for both mom and baby and reducing the risk of complications before, during, and after birth.  

  

“25% of the nation’s 1,430 rural hospitals are at risk of closing, 81% of which are considered to be “highly essential to the health and economic well-being of their communities.”

Where to begin – The Best Remote Patient Monitoring Solution

Telehealth-enabled RPM provides a great opportunity to reduce costs, improve outcomes and truly transform the patient experience. The good news is that implementing an RPM program doesn’t require a large investment in IT or additional human recourses. The key is to partner with the right remote patient monitoring solution company. VidyoHealth is that partner.

VidyoHealth is a virtual monitoring solution built for end-to-end digital healthcare delivery. Our RPM solution helps providers reach more patients across the care continuum regardless of location. Our video-enabled solution enables providers to better manage chronic disease cases, reduce avoidable readmissions in post-operative patients, and expand access to care for rural patients—all while enhancing the patient experience.

 

[1] https://www.insiderintelligence.com/insights/remote-patient-monitoring-industry-explained/ 

[2] https://psnet.ahrq.gov/primer/readmissions-and-adverse-events-after-discharge 

[3] https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/posts/2019-07-22-high-cost-emergency-department-visits.print.html 

[4] https://www.mgma.com/resources/revenue-cycle/chronic-care-management-leveraging-a-significant 

[5] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/costs/index.htm 

[6] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-projections.html 

[7] https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-projections.html 

[8] https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/index.htm 

[9] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6834207/ 

[10] https://www.cdc.gov/ruralhealth/about.html 

[11] https://www.cdc.gov/ruralhealth/about.html 

[12] https://media.npr.org/documents/2019/may/NPR-RWJF-HARVARD_Rural_Poll_Part_2.pdf 

[13] https://www.ruralhealthweb.org/about-nrha/about-rural-health-care 

[14] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/one-in-four-us-rural-hospitals-at-high-financial-risk-of-closing-as-patients-leave-communities-for-care-301037081.html 

How Healthcare Video Conferencing is Improving Patient Care 

How Healthcare Video Conferencing is Improving Patient Care 

COVID-19 has dramatically changed the healthcare landscape. The quick pivot to telehealth has shown us that virtual healthcare works—and works well. In fact, a study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) found that telehealth can deliver as good as or better than usual care” outcomes for specific populations. In other words, we now have proof that telemedicine works; it’s no longer just a concept. 

While speed to adoption was driven primarily by the pandemic, providers now see the long-term value of keeping healthcare video conferencing as part of their core offerings. The good news is that operational processes and workflows for telemedicine are already in place and consumers have, for the most part, embraced it.  

Close to 88% of Americans surveyed say they want to keep telehealth as an option for non-urgent care, and more than 85% say telemedicine has made it easier for them to get the care they need. 

At VidyoHealth, we’ve seen firsthand the positive outcomes that can be derived from telemedicine video conferencing. Following are three case studies that outline just a few of those opportunities. 

Benefits of Healthcare Video Conferencing

Female doctor doing an OK sign in front of computer

Improved communication 

Virtual health technology can enhance the patient experience by enabling more effective communication and collaboration among the entire care team, along with patients and their families. This is especially important in behavioral healthcare.

The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) leverages telemedicine video conferencing from VidyoHealth to deliver more than 200,000 patient consults each year. Dr. Christopher Sankey, Medical Director of the First Step Clinic in Toronto, uses the OTN system to provide opiate addiction counseling and treatment. He believes it is extremely effective, especially in settings where patients would otherwise have to travel a long distance to see a doctor. According to Sankey, “In the area of crisis counseling, urgent situations happen pretty often. Maybe it’s an addiction crisis or a relapse, or abuse—situations arise with patients where they need to see me immediately. With OTN’s solution, even though they are miles away from me, we can still have a face-to-face exchange and work through whatever issues have occurred.”

“OTN’s goal is to improve access to care for patients, to improve quality of care and to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system. As an organization we just want to make telemedicine simple; we want to make it part of everyday healthcare delivery in Ontario. Vidyo enables us to do that.” Dr. Ed Brown, CEO of OTN, VidyoHealth client and one of the largest telemedicine networks in the world. 

Improved access to specialists 

Fortyu-six million Americans live in rural areas, and one in four say there are times when they cannot access the care they need. This is a perfect opportunity for using telemedicine video conferencing to bring specialized care to patients regardless of their location. 

girl talking to doctor with virtual care platform

This is a gamechanger for patients with acute healthcare needs that require consultations with specialists outside their community.  Consider the case of Alexa, a young woman living in a rural California community who was suffering from calf pain and fever. Her blood pressure was severely low and she was beginning to experience organ failure. Fortunately, Sonoma Valley Hospital uses VidyoHealth for its telemedicine needs. With VidyoHealth, Sonoma had 24/7 access to an infectious disease specialist Javeed Siddiqui, MD, MPH, Chief Medical Officer at Telemed2U. Alexa was able to get an immediate virtual assessment from Dr. Siddiqui while she was in the ER. Based on information from his assessment, Dr. Siddiqui convinced the orthopedic surgeon on call and other specialists to take Alexa into the operating room where she was put in an induced coma so her body could heal. Because of their ability to collaborate in real time, the team at Sonoma was able to act quickly, which is critical in cases such as Alexa’s. Throughout her recovery, Alexa, her family, and the physicians at Sonoma remained in contact with Dr. Siddiqui.   

“I believe that telemedicine actually helped save my life.” Alexa, patient of Sonoma Valley Hospital, a VidyoHealth client 

Doctor seeing inmate through telehealth

Improved efficiency  

Of the many benefits healthcare video conferencing offers, reducing length of stay is one of the most valuable—for both hospitals and patients. 

Ochsner Health System uses VidyoHealth to conduct thousands of virtual care visits each year in telestroke, acute care, telepsychiatry, and with patients in their homes. According to Richard Zweifler, M.D., Ochsner’s system chair of neurology, VidyoHealth has enabled them to increase the number of virtual care visits they provide by more than 100%. Additionally, Ochsner was able to reduce its telepsychiatry patient length of stay in the emergency department by about 50%.      “It’s quite amazing for physicians to be at the bedside within seconds where we can often gather medical history from the family members while the patient is getting a CT scan or something. So there’s a lot of work we can do to streamline the very time-sensitive evaluation,” Zweifler said. This was evident with a patient who had a stroke at age 36. The very active married mother of two young children was rushed to her local hospital and immediately had a digital health consult with an Ochsner neurologist. She said the virtual care contributed to “saving her future.”  

With VidyoHealth, Ochsner was able to conduct 4,000 telemedicine visits in just 7 months, reduce ER length of stay by 50%, and increase telestroke evaluations by 100% over a two-year period. 

Adaptability 

One of the best aspects of telemedicine technology is that once it’s implemented, it can be applied in an endless number of ways—all customized to match the specific needs of each department or service area. For example, telemedicine video conferencing can be deployed for remote patient monitoring, dramatically improving clinical outcomes, while the emergency department may utilize it as a way to better triage patients to ensure the fastest, most appropriate care. And hospitals may also use it as a way to monitor post-discharge patients to help reduce complications and readmissions. It’s an investment that actually increases its return on investment over time and as use cases grow. 

 

The Best Healthcare Video Conferencing Solution  

These case studies are perfect examples of how telemedicine video conferencing can help organizations deliver better, more seamless experiences for both providers and patients. The question is: Will you be the next provider to see your patient care improve with our platform? 

8 Features to Look for When Choosing a Telesitter Solution

8 Features to Look for When Choosing a Telesitter Solution

Before the pandemic, 88% of healthcare providers said they rarely or never used telehealth. Today, 93% say they are “somewhat” or “very likely” to continue telehealth in some way after the pandemic, although research shows that its use is quickly falling. This is unfortunate in that telehealth presents a significant opportunity to reduce costs, improve outcomes, and enhance the patient experience. It can also help reduce the impact of staffing shortages, which are so prolific across our country at this time.

 One such opportunity is the use of telesitters. Telesitters enable continuous monitoring of high-risk patients through a bedside monitor. Clinicians benefit by being able to monitor multiple patients from a single screen at the same time without having to schedule individual telehealth visits to check on each patient’s condition. Health systems benefit by being able to better utilize scarce resources, thereby cutting labor costs and overhead. Patients benefit by always having a clinician available when help is needed. Families benefit by gaining greater peace of mind that their loved one is receiving 24/7 care.

 Being able to remotely observe patients can also help improve outcomes through more effective, proactive interventions. This is especially important after a patient is discharged from the hospital. Research shows that 15% of patients discharged from a hospital are readmitted within 30 days, costing the U.S. an estimated $20 billion each year. Telesitters can help reduce readmissions and improve post-discharge recovery.

 There are many telesitter solutions on the market but not all offer the same functionality and quality.

2 healthcare staff observing multiple patients using a telesitter solution on their dual-screen desktop.

Eight capabilities you should look for when choosing a telesitter solution

 

Flexibility. Most health systems have a great deal invested in their network of displays and other equipment like telemedicine carts, smart TVs, and mobile devices. Providers shouldn’t need to purchase new equipment unless they just want to. Be sure the solution you choose will work with your existing equipment to make the most of your existing investments.

 

Custom workflows. Make sure the solution you choose provides workflows tailored to the unique needs of your organization. Steer clear of solutions that require you to change your workflow to accommodate the solution instead of the other way around. This reduces the learning curve and makes onboarding faster.

 

Easy to use. Your new telesitter solution should enhance the patient experience, not hamper it. Be sure to choose a solution that uses simple, onscreen buttons that make it easy for patients and clinicians to connect. The best solutions will also provide onscreen email and text invitation options that enable clinicians to easily invite the patient’s family members, providers, and other clinicians to the conference. This helps improve care collaboration, which can improve outcomes and the patient experience.

Privacy options. There are times when patients may not want a clinician to hear a confidential conversation they’re having with family or friends, or they may not want the clinician to see them as they’re getting dressed or having an exam by an onsite provider. Look for a telesitter solution that provides audio only or both audio and video. It should also offer patients the ability to turn off audio when they need privacy. Features such as “doorbells” are also helpful for letting patients know when a teleconference is about to begin.

 

Motion detection. More than a million people fall in hospitals each year. Solutions that offer motion detection can help reduce falls by alerting the telesitter when the patient is trying to get out of bed. The clinician can intervene by instructing the patient to stay in bed while a bedside nurse is notified. This feature helps patients get the help they need more quickly while improving patient safety.

 

Supports in-patient and out-patient settings. There are many opportunities for using telesitters, both for in-patient and out-patient environments. Look for a telesitter solution that offers the same features and options no matter where the patient is located. Choose a solution that provides continuous bandwidth optimization. This is especially important when the patient is at home since bandwidths can vary from place to place.

 

Multiple-patient monitoring. The best solutions are those that enable clinicians the ability to monitor up to 16 patients at the same time from a single screen. There should also be an admin view with key information about each patient that, when clicked, will show up in full screen. Clinicians can use a second screen to keep the full roster of patients visible at the same time. Clinicians should also have the ability to easily add notes to the patient’s information online. This can help during shift changeovers to ensure each clinician is informed of the patient’s condition.

 

Integration with existing systems. It is critical to choose a telesitter solution that seamlessly integrates with your EMR, HIS, or PMS systems. Look for a solution that has years of integration with solutions like Epic. This will help reduce operational interruptions and facilitate a more efficient implementation.

 

Customizable deployment. Look for a telesitter solution that fits into your unique deployment needs. This might include on-premises for high-level control over traffic, CDRs and network access; private cloud through Google Cloud Platform or Amazon Web Services; or multi-tenant cloud for scalability, silent upgrades, and proactive monitoring.

The future of telehealth

While patients return to in-person office visits, providers shouldn’t be too quick to shutter their telehealth programs altogether. Leveraging telesitters can help organizations more effectively use scarce resources while reducing costs, improving outcomes, and enhancing patient satisfaction. To find out more about Telesitter options for you, book a call with a Telehealth Expert today.

Why The Time Is Right to Implement a VirtualSitter Solution

Why The Time Is Right to Implement a VirtualSitter Solution

Most providers are getting back to some semblance of normal business operations—albeit with lingering challenges such as staffing shortages and ongoing supply chain issues. As we look toward the future, we would be wise to evaluate some of the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, lessons that can help drive a better healthcare system. Telehealth is one such opportunity. 

While most providers are back to seeing patients in person, many are realizing the value of keeping telehealth in some form or fashion in their organization. One way to do so is through the use of telesitters—or clinicians who can care for patients remotely. Use cases for remote patient monitoring include chronic disease management, post-discharge monitoring, ICU monitoring from a centralized location, and falls prevention, just to name a few.  

Telesitters can help mitigate staffing shortages by enabling clinicians to remotely monitor multiple patients from a single location on a single screen, helping to improve patient safety, reduce costs, and enhance the patient experience. 

VidyoHealth’s VirtualSitter: Success in action 

A large health system serving more than six million residents in a major U.S. metropolitan area needed a way to better utilize its clinicians to help prevent falls. They chose to partner with VidyoHealth for its VirtualSitter solution.  

VirtualSitter was designed specifically for hospitals and health systems that need high quality videoconferencing technology to connect clinicians with patients within an inpatient or outpatient setting. VirtualSitter enables a single clinician to monitor multiple patients at the same time from any location—all on the same monitor. 

For falls detection, VirtualSitter uses motion detection that senses when a patient is attempting to get out of bed. This alerts the clinician, who can quickly intervene and ask the patient to wait while a bedside nurse is called. This improves patient safety by getting them the help they need faster. 

Before implementation, the health system leveraged nursing leaders and bedside nurses to design a clinical process using VirtualSitter as the foundation for its new falls prevention program. They identified inclusion and exclusion criteria and integrated existing falls risk screening tools into the new initiative.  

Each patient entering one of the health system’s facilities receives a fall risk screening and, if they meet the criteria, are enrolled into the program and VirtualSitter is set up in the patient’s room. Once the patient is settled, a bedside nurse introduces them to the VirtualSitter clinician. The bedside nurse then walks the patient through the solution and explains how it will help keep them safe. 

In the seven years the health system has been using VirtualSitter, they haven’t had a single fall with injury at any of its acute care sites. 

The health system has been nationally recognized for its innovative telehealth program that leverages VirtualSitter technology to monitor patients at risk of falling.  

a Nurse looking at the screen to virtual telesit

VirtualSitter Features 

VirtualSuitter is a flexible solution that can be used with an organization’s existing devices such as tablets on a stand, smart TVs with a pan tilt zoom camera, telemedicine carts or any existing equipment already in use. VirtualSitter also integrates with the provider’s existing systems and workflows, which reduces the learning curve and facilitates faster implementation and onboarding. 

One of the best features of VirtualSitter is that it’s easy for both clinicians and patients to use, with simple single-click onscreen buttons. Clinicians can easily email or text invitations to the patient’s family members, providers, and other clinicians so they can join the conference. This helps enhance care collaboration, which can improve both outcomes and the patient’s experience.  

VirtualSitter enables clinicians to monitor up to 16 patients at the same time from a single screen. An administrator’s view provides key information about each patient that, when clicked, will show up full screen. Clinicians can use a second screen to keep all their other patients visible at the same time. VirtualSitter also provides clinicians with the ability to add notes to bring the next clinician coming on shift to quickly get up to speed on the patient’s condition.  

  

Leveraging the past to improve the future 

We would be remiss to return telehealth to its pre-pandemic status, especially with so much opportunity at hand. Leveraging telesitter solutions like VirtualSitter can help providers mitigate staffing challenges while reducing costs, improving outcomes, and enhancing the patient experience. The time to act is now. 

Three Ways to Leverage Telesitters to Improve Care And Mitigate Staffing Shortages

Three Ways to Leverage Telesitters to Improve Care And Mitigate Staffing Shortages

Hospitals continue struggling with clinician shortages. According to the American Hospital Association, 23% of hospitals have reported a “critical staffing shortage.” Growing vacancies and turnover in nursing staff, along with associated labor expenses, have been particularly challenging. And when staff is stretched so thin, it can be difficult to maintain a high level of quality care.  

Telehealth-enabled solutions like telesitters can help mitigate staffing shortages while reducing costs and providing a better patient experience. Following are three opportunities for leveraging telesitters in your organization, along with guidelines for choosing the best telesitter solution. 

Remote Patient Observation 

Seventy-three percent of our nation’s total healthcare spending and 93% of Medicare spending goes toward caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions. The largest portion of these costs is from “acute care hospital and emergency department (ED) visits that could be prevented with earlier intervention.” Telesitters can help by monitoring patients at home or in other care settings via virtual telehealth technology that gives them the ability to proactively intervene when problems are detected. 

Post-operative care is a great example. Nearly 20% of patients experience an adverse event within three weeks of being discharged from a hospital or ED, most of which are preventable. Telesitters can continuously monitor and evaluate patients during this critical time to ensure they remain stable. In many cases, telesitters can monitor multiple patients at the same time, enabling hospitals to reduce the impact of nursing shortages. 

Remote patient monitoring enables providers to triage patients more effectively, which can reduce the number of unnecessary, costly ED visits and save providers up to $1,500 per patient encounter.

ICU Monitoring 

Caring for critically ill patients requires a greater level of clinical expertise and round-the-clock monitoring. Telesitters can help by staffing a centralized ICU monitoring station where they can monitor multiple patients in multiple ICU locations from a single “command center.” Hospitals can allocate fewer resources without compromising care quality.  

Leveraging telesitters for virtual ICUs enables more personalized, timely care that can improve outcomes and enhance the patient experience. Clinicians can collaborate in real time with bedside nurses for more effective care coordination and interventions.  

Preventing Falls 

According to the AHRQ, up to one million people in the U.S. fall in the hospital each year, nearly a third of which could have been prevented.6 Telesitters can help prevent falls by intervening and communicating with the patient if it looks like they’re trying to get up unattended.  

Integrated motion sensors allow for more effective monitoring of patients who are at risk of falling. If motion is detected, the clinician can instruct the patient to stay in bed while a nurse is called to help them. At the same time, an alert is sent to a bedside clinician that the patient is trying to get up. In just 30 seconds, a clinician can be in the room to help the patient.   

Two healthcare staff observing 16 patients on a monitor with VirtualSitters Patient Safety Solution.

How to choose the right telesitters solution 

Not all telesitter solutions are alike. It’s important to choose a turnkey solution that is flexible and customizable to your hospital’s unique needs. Look for the following features and capabilities: 

  • Leverages existing devices such as tablets, stands, smart TVs with a pan tilt zoom camera, telemedicine cart or any other equipment the hospital is already using 
  • Provides onscreen buttons that make it easy to talk with patients or others in the patient’s room via audio only or with both audio and video  
  • Includes motion detectors 
  • Seamlessly integrates with existing audio and video infrastructure 
  • Supports quick scaling 
  • Enables clinicians to monitor multiple patients at the same time on the same monitor 
  • Includes zoom functionality for better observation and enhanced patient engagement 
  • Easy for patients and their families to use 
  • Supports virtual rounding and real-time communication between staff, providers, specialists, patients, and the patient’s family 
  • Integrates into existing EMR and other hospital systems 
  • Offers 4K and 5K displays Provides patients with easy to use one-click communication with telesitter 

A more personalized care experience with telesitters

It’s challenging right now for hospitals to provide the right level of coverage with the most qualified clinicians. And it’s a challenge that industry experts predict will continue for some time to come. Leveraging telesitters can help hospitals improve safety, reduce costs, enhance the patient experience, and make better use of scarce resources.  

VidyoHealth VirtualSitter is designed for hospitals and health systems that need turnkey solutions to connect providers with patients and their patient families within an in- or out-patient setting. Unlike other clinical solutions on the market, VirtualSitter is scalable, flexible, and can be integrated into existing network of audio and visual equipment. Clinicians can easily monitor multiple patients at the same time on the same monitor from any location.  

VidyoHealth is built for end-to-end digital healthcare delivery. We help providers easily reach more patients across the care continuum. Learn why more than 4,000 healthcare providers trust VidyoHealth

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