Empowering Compassionate Care: Caregility’s Journey with AI in Telehealth
Some years ago, while in a discussion about technology innovation, the CIO of a world-famous healthcare institution spoke about his focus on compassionate care. That conversation struck a chord with me. At its very core, healthcare delivery is a human undertaking that is skillfully tailored to meet the needs of the individual patient. We should never lose sight of that fact. Digital health solutions must be a means to that end: delivering high-quality, compassionate, efficient, and safe patient care across the continuum of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, recovery, and follow-up. Technology must blend into the background and silently help human caregivers do their best work.
With this mission in mind, our team at Caregility is now embedding AI technologies into our proven virtual care platform to bring individualized patient care to a new level. The compassionate care belief system is a driving force as we set about that work.
We recognize the immense potential for AI in healthcare, but the consequences of getting it wrong, even in a tightly defined domain such as virtual care, could be harmful to care teams and patients. We’ve seen AI applied in broad strokes – delivering a standard set of capabilities to every patient without consideration of their individual needs. We believe that approach is a mistake, and we are committed to applying AI in a responsible way that respects the needs of individual patients and adapts accordingly.
Steering Principles for AI in Telehealth
To ensure our introduction of AI creates value for care teams and contributes to individualized patient care, we’ve embraced a few key steering principles. We believe these principles will help us stay true to our compassionate care beliefs, focus our development work, and allow us to adapt quickly as the underlying technology matures and we receive real-world feedback from our customers. Those steering principles include:
Partnering our clinical and development teams closely on product direction. Our clinical solutions team, comprised of licensed healthcare practitioners with decades of experience in bedside nursing and virtual care program rollouts across leading healthcare institutions, plays a significant role in ensuring that the new AI enhancements we bring to market will positively impact the day-to-day experience of bedside clinicians and their patients.
Responding to every patient as an individual. The more an AI-driven service is customized to the individual patient, the more meaningful the clinical insights that AI helps reveal are. Striving to achieve this level of personalized care delivery helps ensure actionability without introducing nuisance alarms.
A focus on Return-on-Investment. We are committed to being clear-eyed about the financial and clinical outcomes new AI enhancements must deliver to justify the resource investment in time, money, and opportunity.
Caregility’s AI Roadmap
At Caregility, we are providing an optional set of AI-driven services that enhance specific virtual clinical programs, such as Virtual Nursing and Continuous Observation. As we build out these and other AI solutions, in order to adhere to our guiding principles, Caregility is employing an agile software development approach to release AI enhancements for virtual care in phases.
The initial phase is a minimum viable product (MVP) that embeds selected AI capability into our platform, delivering a targeted subset of our overall AI vision to Caregility customers and their patients. We will deploy the MVP to early field trial customers willing and able to partner closely with our clinical solutions team. Together they will provide our development team with a feedback loop that answers essential questions: Are we heading in the right direction? Is our vision for AI enhancement something that solves problems that exist in this institution, or should we adjust? Do our customers trust that this technology shows promise?
We’ll then make modifications and improvements to deliver subsequent phases, using customer feedback to drive value at every stage: Does it increase efficiency? Does it improve care quality? Does it positively impact patient and staff safety?
Our goal is to create additional value for our customers through the Caregility point-of-care telehealth systems that they have already deployed and are planning to deploy. With powerful edge computing and high-resolution cameras and microphone arrays that simultaneously support live two-way audio/video sessions and multimedia streaming, the Caregility Cloud™ platform was built with medical-grade AI integration in mind.
Intelligent Telehealth Endpoints
Each Caregility point-of-care system we deploy today is equipped with sophisticated, purpose-built microphone arrays and HD cameras that can introduce both remote clinician support and AI-enhanced monitoring to care teams. Here are a few examples that illustrate what purpose-built means:
Patient rooms are often noisy environments. Caregility audio processing is purpose-built to perform well in this environment so that remote clinicians can pick up on alarms and hear patients and bedside teams clearly. That same capability can be dual-purposed to feed AI language processing components that enable ambient listening and documentation.
To support patient observation at night, Caregility cameras are purpose-built with infrared night vision. That capability also ensures that computer vision-based AI performs well under low-light patient room conditions.
Our point-of-care devices can send audio and video streams to multiple locations simultaneously to support simultaneous workflows. That means a remote doctor can consult with a patient at the same time the video stream is feeding our AI engine to monitor for patient safety issues such as the bed rail positioning.
The question we seek to answer through AI enhancement is: What tasks can AI help us automate to augment the work of care teams?
AI-Enhanced Audio, Video, and Radar for Virtual Care
As we set out to introduce clinical AI to our virtual care platform, we’re focused on three key areas.
Computer vision enhancements will analyze patient room video streams to look for safety risks, best practice adherence, and workflow optimization opportunities. If the engine detects something that requires human intervention, our intent is to flag it for the right member of the care team. We will leverage our existing iConsult and iObserver applications as the main way to surface useful AI-driven insights to care team members, with incremental updates expected. We want insights to be actionable, not disruptive. Customer feedback from early field trials will inform our roadmap.
In the outpatient context of telehealth, we plan to extend video stream processing to virtual visits to gather patient vital signs (i.e., respiratory rate, heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature) from facial video analysis. We’ll present this live data to the remote clinician so they can see it as part of their remote consultation.
Acoustic-based AI will listen to audio streams for patterns that can alert staff to patient stress or behavioral issues. In the inpatient context, we are researching embedded AI to identify medically relevant parts of conversations between clinical staff and patients to relieve some of the clinical note-taking burden for care teams. Ambient listening will inform structured clinical data capture for nurses to review before being documented in the EHR.
We are also working to integrate an optional radar sensor with our point-of-care devices to support contactless vitals streaming in inpatient care. Trending heart and respiratory rates over time could signal deterioration or changes in the patient’s condition. Our goal is to support personalized compassionate care and alert the appropriate clinician if vital signs diverge away from that patient’s baseline. Sepsis is a major patient safety factor in our hospitals, and we believe widespread adoption of this type of technology will help attack that problem and others.
The AI journey ramps up for Caregility in 2024, when we release our first commercial offerings addressing two of our key focus areas: Augmented Observation and Vitals Trending. We will partner closely with our early field test customers to measure the impact those solutions have on key performance indicators. Customer feedback will fuel our next wave of intelligent telehealth enhancements aimed at advancing compassionate, personalized care.
Nurse Spotlight: Wendy Deibert, EMBA, BSN, RN
As a teen, Wendy Deibert experienced a near-death healthcare episode that resulted in an eight-week hospital stay punctuated by four surgeries. That harrowing experience became an enlightening window into what patients go through, igniting a fire in her to be on the other side of the bed taking care of those in need.
As a young adult, Wendy dove headfirst into nursing, specializing as a neurologist ICU nurse. She would go on to spend two decades at the bedside at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, eventually managing the ICU. Along the way, her exposure to the whirlwind of emotions surrounding patient care allowed her to see healthcare engagement from multiple angles. When personal experience saw her husband and father become patients, inefficiencies in the healthcare journey sparked a new mission in Wendy to help make care more accessible and easier to navigate for patients.
Determined to make a difference, Wendy took a leap of faith and transitioned into the realm of healthcare technology at St. Louis-based Mercy health system. From ensuring patient medication safety to learning the intricacies of interfacing and formulary building, her IT journey began. But it wasn’t just about incorporating new tools; it was about understanding how technology could serve patients better.
Wendy’s most transformative phase was a tele-ICU project where she oversaw the implementation of e-ICU across 350 beds. This venture brought together diverse care groups, introduced Wendy to the magic of virtual care, and showcased the technology’s potential to bridge the gap between remote areas and big cities. From there, Wendy played an integral role in rolling out more than 70 telehealth programs across six states with Mercy, ultimately culminating in the creation of Mercy Virtual – a mammoth hub of 160 virtual caregivers.
As an employee at Mercy, Wendy was a Caregility customer, using the company’s telehealth solutions to support several of the health system’s virtual care initiatives. After parting ways with Mercy to launch her own consulting business, Wendy eventually joined the Caregility team, where additional resources could support shared growth. She currently serves as Caregility’s Chief Nursing Officer, where she supports clinical integrity on behalf of the virtual care company and its hospital and health system customers.
“My passion is getting care into the home or as close to the home as possible instead of having patients travel. Virtual care is also a wonderful early warning system in inpatient settings like the ICU, enabling faster, more proactive care interventions.”
– Wendy Deibert
Wendy has learned through experience the importance of tailoring tech solutions to organizational needs, emphasizing that it’s not about replacing current processes but optimizing them. Integration, she believes, is vital. Separate systems, she’s found, tend to create bottlenecks, while a universal platform offers streamlined care.
“One patient, one record,” Wendy stresses. “No one wants to use a secondary system. Leverage EMR integration to embed processes and boost adoption. One thing I learned at Mercy is that telehealth programs grow organically. Disparate solutions for different units can be terrible for IT to manage and clinicians really prefer to live in one environment. Get onto one platform you can use across settings.” She encourages care teams to identify telehealth solutions that support broad use cases to simplify program growth and technology management.
“Make the technology, the clinician, and the process equal parts of the process,” Wendy also advises. “Collaboration between clinical and IT stakeholders establishes common ground and common language. If you just drop technology in without formally defining virtual care workflows, roles, and protocols, your program won’t be sustainable.”
Wendy’s unique position as someone with both clinical and technical expertise has given her a holistic view of the healthcare arena. Her journey from an eight-week hospital stay to her leadership role at Caregility has been nothing short of inspiring. Today, Wendy continues to leverage her expertise, advocating for best practices and pioneering the seamless integration of technology in patient care delivery to improve both patient and clinician experience.
Interested in connecting with clinical experts to discuss your hybrid care strategy? Contact us today!
Nurse Spotlight: Heidi Steiner, DNP, RN-BC, NE-BC
It’s not uncommon to meet professionals inspired by their family legacy working in healthcare. Although Heidi Steiner grew up surrounded by a family of nurses – including her mother, aunt, cousin, and godmother – she initially resisted the unspoken pressure to tread a similar path. Instead, Heidi was drawn towards community health education. Her dream was to promote health, prevent illness, and keep people out of the hospital.
However, life often takes us in unexpected directions. As Heidi navigated her early career, she conceded to nursing, working as a hospital aide and later as a nurse extern. She grew to appreciate the hospital setting but her core passion always remained: educating people to prevent illness.
This led her to the rehabilitation side of nursing, where she found immense satisfaction in guiding patients and their families through recovery. As Heidi puts it, “The nurse is the quarterback for the team, ensuring patients and their families are equipped with knowledge and care tailored to their needs.”
After relocating to Michigan, Heidi advanced to a nursing leadership role managing a 24-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Her interest in collaboration, patient education, and interdisciplinary teams stood out. When the hospital introduced Cerner, Heidi stepped in to represent the nursing department and found herself immersed in the world of informatics, changing the course of her career yet again.
After spending several years leading healthcare teams through the adoption of electronic health records, and then acting as a consultant for Cerner, Heidi ventured into developing a cross-continuum patient education strategy at Trinity Health. Working on a patient engagement portal, she emphasized that hospital care is only a fragment of the patient’s healthcare journey. The real challenge? Ensuring sustained care and knowledge once the patient returns home.
Heidi’s journey eventually brought her to Caregility and the realm of virtual care. As a Product Manager for the company’s virtual clinical consultation software, she influences tech design, features, and strategies that directly affect patient and clinician end-users. Her goal remains consistent: supporting patients, families, and clinicians throughout the healthcare journey. She believes that technology empowers clinicians to deliver their best care.
“Our job as a technology company is to provide tools that empower clinicians to give the best care they can deliver. This aligns with my passions, which have always been working as a team, collaborating in the best interest of the patient and their family, and supporting clinicians to deliver excellent care.”
– Heidi Steiner
When asked about her ideal vision for healthcare, Heidi paints a picture of seamless health information sharing, patient-driven care plans, and more holistic approaches to meeting patient needs. She sees virtual care bridging the gaps in episodic care, providing continuous insight into patients’ health patterns, and introducing new pathways for earlier intervention when necessary.
Heidi’s advice for anyone looking to venture into virtual care? “Walk, then run. Planning is essential, as is stakeholder involvement and a clear roadmap. ID your KPIs upfront and conduct routine milestone tracking to evaluate the success of your program. Evaluate as you go so you can change course as needed.”
With her certification in nursing informatics and a doctorate degree, Heidi exemplifies the importance of continuous iteration and learning. Her story serves as an inspiring reminder that while legacy can light the way, it’s our individual choices, commitment, and adaptability that truly shape our journey. Whether you’re a nurse pursuing your passion or a patient navigating your care plan post-discharge, that’s timeless wisdom.
Interested in connecting with clinical experts to discuss your hybrid care strategy? Contact us today!
Nurse Spotlight: Irene Goliash, RN
For some, the call to care for others is a lifelong passion. One such individual is Irene Goliash, RN. Drawing inspiration from a nurturing home environment, including a mother who often cared for family members and an aunt who was a nurse, Irene always knew she wanted to be a caregiver.
She began her journey into healthcare at an early age. A neighbor who recognized Irene’s intrinsic desire to support others suggested she try her hand at a nursing home role, noting that if she could manage that, she could likely handle any challenge a career in nursing might throw at her. And Irene did just that. “Working as a nursing home CNA gave me my start in nursing, which I found deeply rewarding,” she says.
After graduating from Alexandria Hospital School of Nursing, Irene stepped into her first registered nurse role at Washington Hospital Center, a 900+ bed tertiary care facility in D.C. “I started on the medical telemetry floor,” shares Irene. “I always knew I wanted to be in critical care. After gaining experience and becoming comfortable with cardiac rhythms, I moved into the ICU, primarily working in surgical, critical, trauma, neurosurgery, and cardiac surgery care.”
From there, Irene transitioned to a role as a Cardiovascular ICU nurse at Georgetown University Hospital. She spent the next seven years providing comprehensive nursing care, patient education, and discharge planning for cardiovascular surgical patients on a combined ICU/Stepdown unit. During her tenure at Georgetown, Irene served as a charge nurse for the entire unit, acted as a preceptor for nurses during orientation, and developed and implemented a unit-based Peer Review system.
Along the way, Irene’s robust nursing experience attracted the interest of health IT stakeholders. A significant turn in her career came when Irene joined Apache Medical Systems (acquired by Cerner) to oversee the development of clinical end-user training programs. Irene was later recruited by VISICU (acquired by Philips) where she would spend the next 16 years managing the clinical transformation process for clients adopting the eICU program.
Irene’s work and connections eventually led her to Caregility, where she currently serves as a Clinical Program Manager working to alleviate the burdens of bedside teams and ensure a smoother healthcare process for patients through telehealth enablement.
“I know from first-hand experience that sometimes at the bedside you feel like you’re just running around putting out fires,” Irene shares. “It’s easy to get burned out thinking of the list of things you didn’t do. I’m all about helping the bedside team. It’s about alleviating their pain points and making the job more satisfying. Both clinicians and patients should feel the benefit.”
“You can significantly improve patient, family, and staff satisfaction just by shifting clinical workload to someone who has time to devote to the specific activity.”
– Irene Goliash
For those looking to implement a virtual care program, Irene stresses the importance of multidisciplinary involvement. “Pull your direct caregivers into the process from the very beginning,” she advises. “Without their buy-in, no matter how good your program is, it will fail. One of the biggest challenges I’ve seen is when customers think it’s an IT project because of equipment procurement and installation, but it’s not. It truly is a clinical project.” Irene recommends involving clinicians when determining program goals, where to focus, and where you grow from there.
Irene sees tremendous potential in emerging virtual nursing programs. She encourages healthcare organizations exploring the hybrid care model to “start small and take baby steps. You don’t have to come in and save the world. Maybe the best thing I can do as a virtual nurse is record your code for you or do the documentation or page people. Let me do the more mundane things so you can focus on hands-on patient care.”
“All it takes is one big win to prove the value,” Irene elaborates. “This can be particularly beneficial in areas where there is just not enough time to devote to things like patient education. We’re often dinged there by patients and families. Having a remote nurse resource who can teach without interruption is a great way to improve that.”
Irene envisions a future where every care team encompasses both bedside and virtual nurses. “Virtual roles can be a great way to harness the experience of nurses who have the knowledge but may not be physically up to a 12-hour shift, which is harder as you get older, keeping 20 to 30 years of nursing experience in my health system to support my bedside team.”Virtual roles can also be outsourced in rural areas where staffing shortages may leave facilities hard-pressed to pull from existing staff.
Irene’s journey is a testament to the limitless potential and adaptability of nursing. She continues to hone her skills as a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and in her work with ATA developing TeleICU nursing guidelines.
As healthcare pivots to a more integrated approach to virtual care, the experiences and insights of nurse professionals like Irene will continue to illuminate the path to better supporting our patients and bedside teams, retaining experienced clinicians, and innovating care delivery.
Interested in connecting with a Caregility Clinical Program Manager to discuss your hybrid care strategy? Contact us today!
Nurse Spotlight: Sarah Lake, MS, RN, CCRN-K
Many would agree that the nursing profession isn’t for the faint of heart. RNs see it all. Although Sarah Lake, MS, RN, CCRN-K, didn’t initially set out to be a nurse, her early years working in the criminal justice system offered plenty of parallels.
Sarah first pursued undergraduate studies in political science and criminal justice, earning her bachelor’s degree at the University of South Dakota (USD). The Sioux Falls native then held positions as a correctional officer and a court services officer, doing what she describes as “the equivalent of felony probation and supervision for community members who don’t go to prison.”
Like the clinical work she’d eventually embark on, Sarah’s Corrections roles operated under a paradigm that put emphasis on prevention through early intervention. The challenge was that she oversaw a population that was profoundly underserved with no access to social services. Sarah recognized that the lack of support services was an impediment to her ability to adequately help those in her community. This point of frustration led her back to school to find a different way she could help.
Sarah earned her nursing degree at USD intending to go into community, public, or mental health. After a preceptorship at the Department of Health setting up points of distribution during H1N1, she landed a critical access nursing role in Chamberlain, SD, at Sanford Chamberlain, ultimately returning to Pierre, her home community, with a role in Avera St. Mary Hospital’s ICU. That role introduced Sarah to a relatively new theory of care. Avera St. Mary’s eICU program allowed patients to receive services from remote clinicians while remaining close to home and family.
“The hospital had an eICU system that allowed clinicians to push a button to get instant access to intensivists and critical care nurses to help take care of critical patients whom we would have otherwise had to transport to tertiary care,” Sarah explains. “When I pushed the button for the first time [to get help] on a drip I was unsure of, I was sold.” Sarah immediately recognized the potential that virtual care posed to broader use cases.
“The thing I am the most passionate about is improving the delivery of patient care.”
– Sarah Lake
“During my career, I did temp work outside of hospitals and worked as a flight nurse, but I always came back to the eICU at Avel eCare (then Avera eCare) because I liked virtual care’s ability to give folks world-class care in their home community. When I came back to work full time in the Sioux Falls area at Avel eCare, one of the service lines was a multi-specialty clinic offering specialties to IHS. Sixty percent of the services we were supporting were mental health or psych related – precisely the kind of services I thought we needed when I was in Corrections.”
When COVID-19 hit, Sarah and her team again turned to telehealth to remotely support patients isolated at home. It wasn’t long before Sarah was recruited by Caregility to put her virtual care experience to work supporting hospitals across the nation looking to follow suit. Today, Sarah helps health systems hone their telehealth strategy, design virtual clinical workflows, and stand up EMR-integrated programs that improve care delivery for patients and providers.
Sarah sees hybrid care fueling what’s possible in healthcare. That includes the ability to support remote family involvement or group visits, patient and staff education, and patient monitoring as an added safety layer and another way to build relationships with patients.
“Post-COVID, patients are sicker and there aren’t as many clinicians available to take care of them,” Sarah notes. “Adopting a virtual nurse is one way teams can meet in the middle. Medicine is also getting much smarter. Wearables and home-based apps have tremendous potential to further personalize care and proactively improve outcomes. Increased use of AI will not only enhance care delivery but also optimize operations. It will account for things people don’t think about when they’re putting patients into beds – like higher fall risk if the patient is placed at the end of the hall – to support the best utilization of space. What locations are best for the recovery of specific conditions? What staff do we have to take care of them? We’ll see the use of AI in those operations.”
For those looking to implement a virtual care program, Sarah offers five points of advice:
Work with a multidisciplinary team including clinical, administrative, and IT stakeholders to define your goals and objectives based on your unique pain points.
Conduct a feasibility study to determine what it will take to launch your program. Consider time and resource requirements, seeking outside expertise as needed.
Define your clinical protocol. Demonstrate ways the solution will benefit patients, lighten staff workload, and foster new professional development skills among staff who will use the tools.
Select technology that supports your identified workflows. Will telehealth endpoints be cart-based or wall-mounted? What integrations are desired? Be mindful of regulatory compliance and network factors.
Iterate and re-iterate constantly.
“Virtual care and telehealth bring us to a whole new level of being able to deliver care to absolutely everybody in a quick, cost-effective manner, even in geographically isolated communities with socioeconomic struggles,” says Sarah. “Today we can have a diabetes patient see a world-class endocrinologist at home on an iPhone. Virtual care lessons I’ve learned along the way have only broadened what I see as the future potential.”
Interested in connecting with a Caregility Clinical Program Manager to discuss your hybrid care strategy? Contact us today!
Nurse Spotlight: Donna Gudmestad, MHL, BSN, RN, CCRN-K
Donna Gudmestad, MHL, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, will tell you she “took the long road into nursing.” As a college student considering her career options, Donna opted to pursue nursing based on exposure to the profession she had gained interacting with home nurses who helped care for her grandfather.
Drawing from that experience, her work as a caregiver began as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in a nursing home. Donna would go on to work as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) for six years, taking a break to start a family before ultimately going on to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
Roughly twenty years would pass between Donna earning her BSN in Nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University and going on to earn her Master of Health Leadership from Western Governors University. Along the way, she gained experience in virtually every facet of the patient care journey, holding nursing roles in academic, long-term care, sub-acute care, rehab, and hospital-based settings.
Perhaps most notably, Donna was among a small but growing constituency of clinicians actively working to modernize care by introducing virtual workflows at the bedside. Using the expertise she cultivated working as an ICU nurse at St. Louis University Medical Center and as a nurse manager at Mercy Virtual, Donna was offered a role as the Director of Operations leading six virtual service lines across a four-state region.
Donna currently puts her 30+ years of nursing and 14+ years of telehealth implementation experience to use as a Clinical Program Manager and Clinical Product Owner of mobile technology at Caregility, where she works with some of the nation’s leading health systems to bring clinically sound virtual care programs to life. That includes emerging virtual nursing models.
Although virtual nursing is rightfully generating buzz, Donna observes that the concept is not new. “TeleICU is one flavor of virtual nursing,” she notes. “We have been doing medication second signature and other workflows virtually for 15 years within the critical care space.” She sees the expansion of those practices into lower acuity hospital units as a natural next step in improving patient care delivery.
“Whereas before it was a battle, COVID really opened people’s eyes to what technology can do to help nurses at the bedside.”
– Donna Gudmestad
Drawing from her experience as a clinician and virtual care forerunner, Donna is a wealth of knowledge for care teams standing up virtual programs. Her number one recommendation is to do your due diligence upfront. “Don’t stand something up and think you’re going to come back and clean it up,” Donna notes. “Do it right the first time. Decide which workflows you want to start with. What are your goals? What’s your measure of success? Align your metrics up front so you can measure your performance.”
Donna encourages leadership teams to involve bedside staff in program development early on to fully understand their challenges and build a program that adequately addresses them. “Sometimes we do things we think are helpful because we’re not in the hot seat every day,” says Donna. “The devil is in the details and bedside staff hold valuable knowledge that’s needed to really streamline workflows.”
When asked where she sees healthcare in 10 years, Donna is resolute in her perspective that virtual nursing and telemedicine will be normalized as a standard, additional mode of care delivery. “A nurse or provider will be able to come into a patient’s room virtually to accomplish much of what is done in person today,” she explains. “Peripherals and AI-supported transcription will support them, so they won’t have to type anything into their computer.”
Though critical care is destined to remain in-house, Donna sees an increased need for nurses beyond the four walls of the hospital. “A lot of care will be pushed out into the home whenever it’s appropriate,” she elaborates. “Many things can be done within the home, which more often than not increases patient comfort and reduces care costs.”
She views virtual nursing programs as practice for that future state and posits that “nursing will look very different in a decade.” That will likely entail a virtual-first engagement strategy where hands-on teams are deployed as needed – the inverse of what we typically see today. Donna is also optimistic about the broader use of AI in care delivery to make that future state possible, but notes that “with power comes responsibility.”
“Nurses have a thousand things on their plate,” she points out. “At the end of the day, the goal is to make it easier for clinicians to deliver high-quality care that is augmented by technology.”
Interested in connecting with a Caregility Clinical Program Manager to discuss your virtual care strategy? Contact us today!
Nurse Spotlight: Ben Cassidy, MBA, MSN, RN, CCRN-K
Ben Cassidy, MBA, MSN, RN, CCRN-K, always knew he wanted to work in the field of healthcare. What he may have underestimated was just how much his technical aptitude would propel his clinical career.
As an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Ben initially had his sights set on becoming a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA). But real-world experience after earning his nursing degree would lead him in a different direction.
What Ben really sought was an unconventional path, or what he calls “the 1% job – that small, specialized field within nursing” where he could make the most difference. Entering the healthcare workforce as a newly minted RN on the heels of the HITECH Act being passed, Ben embraced opportunities to meld his clinical and technical know-how. He eventually landed at North Carolina-based Cone Health, the first hospital in the state of North Carolina to launch a teleICU program.
“I found myself in a nurse supervisor role in my 20s where I was the youngest clinician on staff by about 30 years,” Ben shares. “Medical records had recently gone electronic. I got along very well with the clinicians who were older than me because they appreciated having someone young around who was familiar with electronic medical records.”
During his tenure with Cone Health, Ben spearheaded the health system’s migration to a new teleICU solution, which brought him into the medical device side of virtual care.
The teleICU project involved replacing over 160 telehealth endpoints on an accelerated schedule carefully orchestrated to avoid interfering with patient care and creating communication pathways between Cone Health’s Epic EHR and the in-room video solution. Ben and the Cone Health team customized Epic Monitor around their current and new clinical workflows while also collaborating with Caregility to build an integration to launch the camera from within the patient’s EHR record using context-aware linking. As a result, Cone Health was able to leverage the EHR to define predictive analytics for risk, stratifying patients for early identification and intervention.
Today, Ben brings 12 years of experience in critical care and 7 years of experience in the teleICU space to his role as a Clinical Program Manager at Caregility, where he helps clinical teams integrate virtual care into hospital workflows. As an AACN-certified Critical Care Registered Nurse (CCRN) with specialized knowledge in Virtual Nursing and medical device integration, he adds tremendous value to the Caregility team and the health system customers he consults.
“I’m passionate about using my technical skills and knowledge of the industry to help make healthcare more seamless and easier to navigate, not only for patients but for clinicians as well,” Ben shared. “As a clinician, you want a seamless flow of devices working for you so you can focus on the patient.”
“Too often, we have too many hands on medical devices and not enough hands on patients. My goal is to help change that.”
– Ben Cassidy
When asked what advice he’d give someone looking to implement a virtual care program, Ben recommended making sure you weigh all your options. “Look for a virtual care platform that supports use cases from the onset of a medical emergency through to when the patient leaves the facility – from ambulatory care to the inpatient setting and to the patient’s home. Solutions should take bedside activities off clinicians’ plates, not add to them. EMR integration is essential.”
Looking ahead, Ben sees medical device integrations playing an increasingly important role in healthcare delivery, offering clinicians new tools to identify changes in patient conditions and intervene earlier. “What we don’t need is another device that clinicians have to touch or type on, or another false alarm sounding throughout a nursing unit,” Ben shared. “Picking up patient data points without providers having to manually document them while also creating meaningful, actionable alerts is going to make it much easier for caregivers. Hopefully, in the future, if a camera sees it, you speak it, or a device senses it, the technology will capture it. We’re already seeing this in some of the new health AI solutions entering our ecosystem.”
“I also see our industry’s response to technology moving from fear to need, which is encouraging,” Ben elaborated. “There is less fear that healthcare technology will replace jobs and more open acceptance of health IT as another resource to help you do your job more effectively.”
“We’re never going to replace the bedside nurse, but I believe virtual care tools and models can help us better staff our units, reduce burnout for our nurses, and offer an alternative work arrangement to help us hold onto our more seasoned, experienced RNs. Giving them the option to be a remote knowledge resource strengthens the organization as a whole. I can easily envision a day when virtual clinical resources are integrated into every organization in healthcare.”
Interested in connecting with a Caregility Clinical Program Manager to discuss your virtual care strategy? Contact us today!
Spotlight on National Nurses Month: Caregility Supports ANF’s “Reimagining Nursing Initiative”
Nurses are an indispensable part of U.S. healthcare delivery. Standing on the front line of patient engagement and at the crux of care coordination, RNs have long served as the backbone of the medical industry, helping to keep healthcare consumers, their loved ones, and clinical staff in step in their shared pursuit of improved patient health.
During National Nurses Month each May, these care team members are formally recognized and celebrated for their ongoing commitment and contributions. The hardship experienced by many nurses during the COVID-19 response over the past two years serves as a particularly salient reminder of the sacrifices that are frequently required of these vital resources. As our nation emerges from the pandemic to confront a national nursing shortage and unprecedented rates of clinician burnout, many organizations aligned to the field of healthcare are amplifying efforts to identify new ways to better support our RNs.
It is in the spirit of that mission that Caregility has teamed up with the American Nurses Foundation (ANF). As the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association (ANA), ANF’s vision is to “achieve a healthy world through the power of nursing.” Relying on the generosity of donors to help achieve and expand this mission, the Foundation funds “bold thinkers to pilot and evaluate new ideas that accelerate widespread transformation in nursing.” The ANF’s Reimagining Nursing Initiative focuses on three core pilot program areas:
Practice-Ready Nurse Graduates
Technology-Enabled Nursing Practice
Direct-Reimbursement Nursing Practice Models
To support the ANF’s cause and honor National Nurses Month 2022, Caregility donated $3,000 to the Foundation’s Technology-Enabled Nursing Practice program, which supports the design and implementation of technology-based tactics and tools that meaningfully enhance the practice of nursing. The program’s emphasis on nurses as key drivers of effective healthcare IT design echoes Caregility’s core development principles for telehealth.
“Like the ANF, we recognize the fundamental role that nurses play in successfully reimagining healthcare,” said Caregility SVP of Clinical Solutions Wendy Deibert. “We’ve seen first-hand the tremendous positive impact that our own clinical leadership team has had on virtual care program design, so we see tremendous value in ANF’s efforts to similarly advance nurse involvement in digital transformation.”
Donations from Caregility and others will fund as many as 11 innovative pilot programs that will receive three-year grants totaling a combined $15 million.
“The American Nurses Foundation is extremely grateful for Caregility’s recent contribution to The Reimagining Nursing Initiative in honor of National Nurses Month,” said a spokesperson on behalf of ANF. “This gift will enable the Foundation to fund innovative pilot programs designed to create and implement cutting-edge, technology-based tools and strategies that will significantly enhance the practice of nursing.”
The donation was made as part of the Caregility Cares program, honoring members of the medical community who go above and beyond to bring relief to others. Learn more about the Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarship and Frontline Worker Recognition Programs here.
Looking for virtual workflow relief to reduce pressure on your nursing staff? Contact us today to see how Caregility can help.
Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarship Winners Announced
Caregility Awards Seven Scholarships to Aspiring Healthcare Workers through Initial Phase of Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarships
EATONTOWN, N.J. (July 7, 2021) –Caregility, a company dedicated to delivering care to wherever the patient is located through the use of its Caregility Virtual Care Platform, awarded seven scholarships to aspiring healthcare workers through the Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarship program. Though only five scholarships were initially announced, Caregility capitalized on a partnership with Chip Ganassi Racing and support from the Washington Capitals to conduct an online auction and raise money for a sixth scholarship. A seventh scholarship was created through the generous donations of Caregility employees.
“Within a few weeks of announcing the Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarship, the number of students seeking financial assistance to pursue their degree quickly became apparent,” said Caregility CEO Ron Gaboury. “We were thrilled to be able to award five scholarships, but the thought of awarding seven was even better. We decided to host an online auction to generate additional funds. Thankfully, we already had a great partner in Chip Ganassi Racing, as well as some friends at the Washington Capitals. We looped them in on the idea and they were both quick to offer up some unique auction items. Between their assistance, the generous contributions of our employees and the support of auction bidders, we were able to fund two additional scholarships.”
Caregility received over 4,000 applications from aspiring healthcare workers between announcing the scholarship program in February 2021 and closing the application window on May 31. Each applicant was required to submit an essay of at least 500 words on what inspired them to pursue a career in a health-related field. The applications were reviewed by a panel of judges before finalists were selected.
Open to high school seniors, undergraduate and graduate students who are either healthcare workers or dependents of healthcare workers seeking a higher education degree in the field of medicine, the Caregility Cares Essential Worker Scholarship awarded six students with $5,000 scholarships each, with a seventh scholarship of $1,100 also awarded. The winners were Shobi Mathew, Adrianna Doucas, Michelle Dunwody, Jennifer Walker, Sonia Goyal, Kelly Renstrom and Imani Hill.
Caregility’s Sudhir Ahuja Selected as Honoree for NJBIZ 2021 Digi-Tech Awards
This award is given to help recognize innovators who have demonstrated excellence in technology leadership.
We are proud to announce that Caregility’s very own Sid Ahuja has been selected as a recipient of this year’s NJBIZ’s Digi-Tech Awards! These awards are given to represent pioneers from New Jersey who have, and are, introducing significant advances in the technological and digital space at their organizations, thus enhancing the overall productivity and performance of their companies.
As SVP of Product Management for Caregility, Dr. Sudhir “Sid” Ahuja has led the initiative to evolve the Caregility Platform and its related products and services to deliver a formidable range of telehealth solutions to the marketplace under its brand. This work has not gone unnoticed, leading to the Caregility Platform being recognized as Best in KLAS for Virtual Care Platforms (non-EMR) for 2021.
NJBIZ will be honoring Sid, along with the rest of the award winners, with a virtual ceremony taking place on Thursday, April 22nd from 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM. If you would like to help congratulate Sid on this incredible achievement, you can register for the ceremony here.