Caregility Helps Transform Inpatient Care with New AI-Enhanced Telehealth Systems
The intelligent telehealth edge devices support multiple audio and video streams at the bedside, enabling providers to deploy advanced hybrid care delivery models at scale.
EATONTOWN, NJ (January 11, 2024) – In a significant leap forward for inpatient care, Caregility is proud to introduce a new class of adaptive telehealth edge devices designed to seamlessly support hybrid care models that bring remote clinicians and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities into bedside workflows at the point of care.
The groundbreaking APS200 Duo is the company’s first dual-camera, all-in-one system with onboard edge computing and a powerful dedicated graphics engine. The APS200 Duo includes a wide-angle camera for remote patient observation and a high-definition 40x power zoom camera for virtual nursing programs and remote patient examinations.
The second-generation APS100 Pro is a reimagined all-in-one system with a wide-angle camera for remote patient observation. The versatile APS100 Pro can be expanded with the APS FlexCam, an external high-definition 40x power zoom video camera for virtual nursing programs and remote patient examinations. The APS100 Pro and APS FlexCam feature flexible wiring options, including Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE+) support.
These advanced telehealth edge devices, specifically built for inpatient settings, not only offer superior audio and video capabilities but also open new avenues for hybrid healthcare delivery, offsetting clinical staffing shortages and enhancing patient monitoring with AI-driven insights. The devices integrate with the award-winning Caregility Cloud™ virtual care platform to enable a multitude of clinical applications. Multiple audio and video streams from each telehealth endpoint can support concurrent clinical workflows such as continuous remote patient observation and ad hoc specialty consultations.
The AI-enhanced telehealth edge devices facilitate seamless virtual clinical interactions, enhancing the efficiency and quality of patient care and clinical team collaboration. The dual-camera configurations allow for virtual encounters and AI-supported continuous patient monitoring to be conducted in tandem, helping healthcare professionals detect and alert staff to unattended patient movement and vital sign changes that could lead to adverse events so care teams can intervene faster. Advanced microphone arrays and high-quality speakers provide realistic encounters and support acoustic listening AI applications such as ambient documentation for automated, structured EMR reports.
The APS200 Duo, APS100 Pro, and APS FlexCam represent a significant advancement in hospital-based telehealth, offering a new level of support to patients and acting as a workforce multiplier for healthcare providers. Key highlights include:
Built-in edge computing and Wi-Fi, Ethernet, Bluetooth®, USB, and HDMI-CEC connectivity allow for easy AI and peripherals integrations.
Dual HD cameras provide 1080p resolution, ensuring clear and detailed visual interactions.
Night vision supports viewing in dark settings without disturbing the patient.
High-quality microphone arrays enable clear communication in noisy clinical environments.
Seamless integration with EMRs, Clinical Decision Support (CDS) platforms, connected devices, and more.
The FDA-registered Class 1 medical devices can integrate with digital TVs and Interactive Patient Console (IPC) systems in the patient room to maximize space and resources. The Caregility telehealth edge devices also include a wall-mounted vLert button that interfaces with the Caregility Clinical Notifications application, allowing bedside staff to initiate an on-demand session with a virtual nurse or remote clinician. Every Caregility device is self-healing, proactively monitored, and remotely managed to ensure reliability and minimize disruption to patient care.
Early market adopters are using APS200 Duo, APS100 Pro, and APS FlexCam devices to cost-effectively scale AI-enabled telehealth to every patient room.
OhioHealth recently installed 66 APS100 Pro telehealth devices as part of its Patient Room of the Future initiative at the health system’s new Pickerington Methodist Hospital. “From ordering meals to watching educational videos and managing medication schedules, the intuitive technology aims to provide a more personalized hospital stay,” said Tom Gutman, OhioHealth Senior Consultant of Learning Simulation. “The addition of a camera above the TV allows patients to speak virtually with nurses, specialists, or family members. The positive impact is evident to both staff and patients alike.”
UMass Memorial Health recently launched a similar initiative. “We plan to install the APS200 in our new 72-bed inpatient facility – our “hospital of the future” – for a variety of different use cases including e-sitting, virtual rounding, patient-family communication, and even tele-ICU level care,” said David Smith, UMass Memorial Health System Associate VP of Virtual Medicine. “The combination of form factor and advanced PTZ camera control is a sweet spot for the APS200. We wanted to be an early adopter after seeing the prototype and competitive price point. We envision this to be a standard of care for every bed across our healthcare system.”
“Our mission at Caregility is to continuously elevate the art of what’s possible in care delivery to improve the experience for both patients and providers,” said Bin Guan, Caregility Chief Innovation Officer. “Our latest telehealth edge devices offer healthcare organizations an effective way to extend hybrid care at scale – every room, every bed, every patient – so they can deliver the most effective, high-quality care possible.”
Learn more about Caregility’s suite of telehealth devices and schedule a demonstration at www.caregility.com.
About Caregility Caregility (caregility.com) is a telehealth solution provider connecting care everywhere. Designated as the Best in KLAS® Virtual Care Platform (non-EMR) in 2021, 2022, and 2023, Caregility Cloud™ brings bedside care, virtual care, and AI capabilities together at the point of care. Doctors, nurses, and patients around the world rely on our intelligent telehealth edge devices and virtual nursing, observation, and engagement applications to enhance clinical insights, patient safety, and efficiency. Trusted by over 75 health systems, deployed in more than 1,000 hospitals, and supporting over 30,000 connected devices, Caregility is helping to transform healthcare delivery across inpatient and outpatient settings.
Hybrid Care: Making the Case for Telehealth in Every Patient Room
During the pandemic, many health systems adopted telehealth to meet one specific objective: to ensure access to care for patients isolated at home. Telehealth and virtual care delivered on that and more. Homebound patients maintained ties to their providers, and hospital-based care teams used telehealth resources to reduce COVID-19 exposure and keep families connected during visitation restrictions.
As isolation issues abate, new challenges are driving health systems to explore ways telehealth can further support care delivery within inpatient settings. Clinical workforce shortages, patient safety concerns, and increased competition are all taking a toll on hospitals.
Here we look at how the integration of virtual tools into bedside care can help health systems adapt and overcome, making a strong case for hybrid care and the push towards telehealth in every patient room.
Research has repeatedly demonstrated that poor staffing ratios lead to poorer patient care and outcomes, including increased morbidity, medication errors, and risk of infection.
Additional factors are leading to worsening patient acuity levels. American Hospital Association recently issued areport that found that deferred patient care during the pandemic led to a 9.9 percent increase in the average length of stay from 2019 to 2021.
As hospitals treat sicker patients, often with fewer clinical resources, deploying telehealth endpoints in patient rooms across the hospital enterprise helps amplify patient coverage and safety and improve the speed of clinical intervention. Virtual observation programs, for example, are increasingly moving beyond critical care units to help care teams keep eyes on at-risk patients for things like fall prevention. The ability for care teams to move from a one-to-one in-person model to a one-to-many virtual caregiver-to-patient model maximizes staff resources while reducing the cost of care.
A single telehealth platform may serve many use cases in the patient care journey, from virtual rounding in the morning, to virtual behavioral health appointments in the afternoon, to virtual patient observation at night. When integrated with clinical decision support tools, virtual nursing can support patient stratification to detect and intervene when patients are in decline and potentially discharge those doing well early. Bringing virtual resources to the bedside also enhances clinical collaboration as well as family engagement, which reduces anxiety and speeds the recovery process.
The Future State: Strategic Differentiation
Another motivator driving health systems to adopt an enterprise approach to telehealth is the pursuit of competitive differentiation. Hospital Room of the Future initiatives are cropping up across the nation as healthcare organizations seek to attract tech-savvy consumers and partners. These digitally enabled rooms enhance the care experience for patients and care providers alike. Patients benefit from virtual access to their clinical team and interpreters, which can improve HCAHPS scores. Clinicians benefit from access to innovative connected health integrations that streamline workflows and improve efficiency.
Many additional healthcare initiatives that are on the horizon are only feasible when telehealth is involved. Hospital at Home, Chronic Care Management, Aging in Place, and even advancements in preventive care coordination all require or benefit significantly from the ability to virtually engage with patients between in-person encounters, representing additional use cases where telehealth can enhance patient care.
The Challenge and a Path Forward
Inflation, increased labor expenses, and a rise in patient acuity are all putting strain on hospital financials. According to recent research from Kaufman Hall, the hospital median operating margin was down by 29.9 percent year over year as of June 2022.
So how can health systems enable enterprise-wide telehealth in the midst of record-setting low margins? Many recognize the value and long-term ROI that augmenting inpatient care with virtual workflows can bring but struggle to invest the upfront capital typically associated with enterprise-wide implementations. Without a way for health systems to wade into enterprise telehealth, financially speaking, few will be swimming.
The good news is that new pricing and acquisition models are emerging to help providers step into hybrid care and enterprise telehealth. Subscription-based models that offer pay-as-you-go pricing reduce up-front capital investment requirements. New cost-effective endpoint options for lower-acuity patient engagement that does not warrant the same intensive clinical communications needed in higher-acuity environments like the tele-ICU are also entering the market.
Enterprise telehealth platforms that master the basics – security, centralized program and fleet management, integration adaptability, and scalability – offer a solid foundation to build on that will also help health systems mitigate solution sprawl and resource redundancy in the years to come.
Five Tech Factors for Inpatient Telehealth
When Caregility launched in 2019 we had no idea just how quickly telehealth and hybrid care would prove to be essential aspects of healthcare delivery. What we found during and since the COVID-19 pandemic is that, above and beyond connecting providers with patients at home, telehealth is also a lifeline for clinicians working within acute care settings. Provider-to-provider telemedicine kept isolated care teams connected during the pandemic and it continues to help healthcare organizations bridge care gaps today.
For many health systems, provider-to-provider telemedicine sprouted in high-acuity units like the ICU, where virtual specialists were brought in to help support care for critically ill patients. Today that hybrid care model is being replicated in additional hospital units where clinical teams are understaffed and looking for clinical reinforcement. As workforce shortages persist, provider-to-provider telemedicine allows hospitals to add specialist and nursing capacity quickly, reducing recruitment burdens and costs associated with staff relocation.
As you evaluate your health system’s telemedicine strategy moving forward, here are five technology factors to keep in mind.
Single Platform – Look for a centralized telehealth platform that is adaptable enough to support a variety of clinical use cases to avoid investment redundancies. Begin by launching one virtual workflow and then expand virtual care programs out organically over time to keep changes manageable.
Device Fleet – Identify the key telehealth endpoint features needed for various care acuity settings: Will you use mobile carts, tablets, or wall-mounted systems? Do you need cameras that zoom in enough for virtual clinicians to read a syringe or wristband, or is a camera that gives a broad view of the room and its participants acceptable? Look for solutions that centralize and simplify fleet management.
Connected Health Integrations – EHR-integrated telehealth keeps internal clinicians in their native environment and brings clinical data into the virtual visit for remote clinicians. Consider what additional peripheral resources you want to include, such as digital stethoscopes, remote patient monitoring devices, clinical decision support tools, and language interpreter services.
Network Assessment – Early on in the process, conduct an assessment of your IT infrastructure to ensure that your network is optimized for always-on virtual care environments. Be mindful of the ways wi-fi and security protocol can disrupt virtual care and plan accordingly to guard against downtime.
Ease of Use – Look for a platform that allows care team members to easily bring other clinicians into calls. Device-agnostic platforms that offer a consistent user experience across desktop and mobile devices promote adoption. This can be particularly valuable in hybrid staffing models that require collaboration between on-site and remote clinical staff.
Three Keys to a Successful Virtual Patient Observation Program
As hospitals and health systems strive to offer high quality patient care in an efficient, cost-effective manner, many are turning to virtual patient observation. In lieu of 1:1 in-room sitters, virtual sitter programs leverage 24/7 monitored cameras to provide real-time remote observation. And, with a platform that allows one staff member to see a dozen patients on a single screen, other uses that are less event-based, such as catching unforeseen deterioration/sepsis, assessing cognition, wound monitoring, and interval-based status notes, are more readily applied at scale.
Beyond preventing negative outcomes, virtual observation, of course, also helps floor staff be more efficient, reassures patients and family members, and ensures that hour-to-hour needs can be more quickly addressed. With this type of technology, hospitals can support more patients without overextending their resources —a critical need as hospitals continue to face ongoing staffing shortages.
However, adopting any new technology or transitioning from an older system requires careful planning. To ensure a seamless implementation, consider these three keys to success:
In-person go-live support: Throughout the implementation and go-live, on-site support should be available for all shifts and all program touch points, including bedside. This will allow just-in-time training and real-time problem analysis and resolution.
Clinical oversight: Beyond the technology components of the implementation, a critical success factor for rollout is a clinical team that can make recommendations around clinical workflow design.
Minimal downtime: Especially for healthcare systems with existing virtual patient observation systems, it’s essential to have a seamless transition from the existing application to the new system. By minimizing downtime, you can support positive staff expectations from day one, while mitigating the patient risks that could otherwise accrue.
Reduced direct costs: Organizations that replace in-room sitters with a virtual, camera-based solution can decrease FTEs while optimizing patient safety and clinical monitoring. In addition, just one hospital-related fall injury can cost up to $30,000 (not to mention legal and reputational exposure). Thus, even one prevented fall has both direct and downstream cost implications, while multi-patient monitoring that requires only a single staff member has immediate top line impact.
Timely opportunities for intervention: If a patient simply needs reassurance and orientation, the observer can provide that in a timely, effective manner. If a patient at fall risk attempts to leave bed, the observer can ask the patient to remain in bed until clinical staff can assist, while immediately alerting staff who can intervene. Other changes of note that might not be immediately visible via telemetry include restlessness, altered mental state, skin or wound color changes, security concerns with a visitor, and many more.
Potential facility-wide applications: Virtual observation technology can be used in a wide variety of applications. Extending use cases well past the ICU and general acute care, applications include confirmation of status while contemplating or awaiting transfer or discharge, newborn and infant monitoring, and ensuring that ED patients pending test results or an available clinician have “eyes on them” at all times. Long-term, transitional/rehabilitation, and home care have obvious applicability as well.
For a closer look at the implementation process and benefits of a virtual sitter program, download the case study that details Caregility’s work with OhioHealth. With Caregility, OhioHealth was able to transition rapidly and seamlessly from a previous system to the new one in a single day with minimal downtime – and ultimately take an important step toward scaling telehealth services.