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60 New Tele-ICU Rooms in One Week: How Caregility Helped Geisinger Deal with Its First COVID-19 Surge

It was Spring, 2020, and Geisinger Health System, based in Danville, Pennsylvania, was struggling with its first big surge in COVID-19 patients.

At the time, Geisinger Health System was experiencing full capacity in the Intensive Care Units (ICUs) of several of its hospitals. To cope with the surge, Geisinger converted step-down units and other spaces into remote ICU (tele-ICU) rooms with negative air pressure.

Many of these rooms had solid wood doors that prevented clinical staff from seeing into the room, so establishing live two-way video in the rooms was critical to effective patient monitoring. It was equally important to Geisinger that clinical staff within these rooms be able to easily communicate with other nurses and physicians outside of the room.

To achieve these ends, Geisinger, which uses our Tele-ICU technology, turned to Caregility. The solution needed to be simple, easy, and cost-effective. In the just one week, our implementation team worked with Geisinger to implement two-way video communications in more than 60 repurposed rooms.

We installed an iPad with the Caregility app in each room, enabling two-way video and audio between the room and the care staff at the electronic ICU (eICU) monitoring station.

“The Caregility technology offered a HIPAA-compliant, two-way, audio/video solution,” Tracey Kopenhaver, a nurse and tele-ICU and cardiac ICU operations manager at Geisinger told HealthcareITNews.

With the touch of a button, nurses inside the room could confer with their colleagues on the outside.

“We were able to assist the bedside clinical staff with early intervention for patients whose condition was getting worse,” Tracey said. “We also were able to assist with little things like documentation that required two nurses, so that only one bedside nurse needed to go into the room. This allowed us to save PPE such as gowns, gloves, and masks, which were in short supply. The bedside nursing and provider staff also appreciate the additional support from the tele-ICU staff.”

The two-way video capability also helps calm and reassure patients.

“In the units supported by tele-ICU, patients appreciate that there is always somebody in the background helping us make sure they’re not having any problems,” Tracey noted.

Geisinger’s IT team also rests easier knowing that Caregility’s system-monitoring functionality will alert the team of any network or device connectivity issues.

Another advantage Tracey noted is that Caregility’s platform gives care staff the ability to connect to any Caregility-app-enabled device within the health system.

What health systems should look for in a telehealth solution

For other health systems looking to either add or extend telehealth capabilities, Tracey advises them to look for a product that offers simple installation, EHR integration, and a reporting function that allows staff to pull productivity information.

It’s also critical that the solution is custom designed for healthcare.

“Having people who understand what clinicians do and how we use products and technology to take care of patients is vital to ensuring that solutions make sense and are easy to use,” Tracey explained.

If you’re interested in learning more about Caregility’s telehealth solutions, which were purpose built for healthcare, you can contact us here.

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