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Responsible Health AI

See how Caregility’s hybrid care solutions
enrich nursing with responsible AI.

 

 

Caregility Cloud Platform + Responsible Health AI

At its core, healthcare delivery is a human undertaking skillfully tailored to meet the needs of each individual patient. At Caregility, we understand that AI will never replace the intuitive human touch of dedicated caregivers. What we believe AI can do is empower clinicians by automating routine tasks so they can focus on what truly matters.

With intuitive applications, purpose-built telehealth devices, an unparalleled integration ecosystem, and AI enhancements, Caregility Cloud™ helps you connect diverse patient and clinician environments in a single, flexible virtual care platform.

A Business Case for Virtual Nursing

Download the eBook

A Business Case
for Virtual Nursing

Examine the impact and opportunity of
the hybrid care model in inpatient settings.


 

Virtual Patient CarePilot Program Examples
Reduce Care CostsReal-World ROI
Clinician Patient CommunicationHow to Get Started

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What can Virtual Nursing do for your healthcare organization? 

Virtual Nursing helps health systems address critical issues such as nurse burnout, patient safety, and cost efficiency. This ebook offers key considerations and real-world examples to draw from as you develop your Business Case for Virtual Nursing.

Virtual Nursing Images

Table of Contents:

  • What’s fueling the rise of virtual nursing?
  • Augmenting care teams with a Virtual Nurse component
  • Virtual Nursing’s reach
  • Virtual Nursing’s return on value
  • Virtual Nursing KPIs
  • Lessons from Virtual Nursing pioneers
  • Getting started with virtual nursing
  • Future considerations

Lee Health Virtual Nursing Case Study

Baptist Health, Caregility Expand Partnership to Enhance Patient Care

EATONTOWN, N.J. and LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (May 9, 2024) – Baptist Health and Caregility are pleased to announce an expanded partnership aimed at enhancing patient care across the Arkansas-based healthcare organization.

Baptist Health will enhance its bedside care teams by increasing its usage of Caregility intelligent telehealth devices to more than 700 bedsides system-wide, doubling the footprint of the healthcare organization’s inpatient telehealth services. The initiative adds virtual clinical resources to support in-person bedside care and help improve patient outcomes. This collaboration underscores both organizations’ commitment to leveraging technology to transform healthcare delivery and meet the evolving needs of patients and staff.

The enhanced partnership builds upon Baptist Health’s previous success with virtual admissions and discharge programs, currently supported by more than 300 wall-mounted and cart-based Caregility telehealth devices across 11 hospitals. Since partnering on virtual care services with Caregility in 2021, telehealth session volume for Baptist Health has increased from roughly 1,000 virtual visits per quarter to more than 20,000.

A Baptist Health bedside care team member welcomes a virtual clinician into the patient room using Caregility’s APS250C mobile telehealth cart.
A Baptist Health bedside care team member welcomes a virtual clinician into the patient room using Caregility’s APS250C mobile telehealth cart.

In early 2023, Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute successfully launched Arkansas’ first virtual nursing program to provide additional support to bedside nurses, patients and families. The program then expanded to the healing ministry’s hospitals in Stuttgart, Malvern and Heber Springs. Thanks to positive patient outcomes and feedback, Baptist Health will roll out virtual care programs on every medical and surgical floor across the organization.

As part of this expansion, Baptist Health will deploy Caregility’s new, highly advanced telehealth devices and award-winning Caregility Cloud™ virtual care platform in more than 500 additional patient rooms at the health system’s flagship hospital, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock, as well as Baptist Health Medical Center-North Little Rock and Baptist Health-Fort Smith. These devices will support the expansion of virtual nursing and the rollout of virtual support staff and virtual providers in the coming months. Additionally, a centralized hub to support virtual nursing and virtual sitters has opened on the Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock campus.

Baptist Health will implement Caregility’s new dual-camera APS200 Duo telehealth edge devices to support the next phase of its virtual nursing rollout.
Baptist Health will implement Caregility’s new dual-camera APS200 Duo telehealth edge devices to support the next phase of its virtual nursing rollout.

“Embracing virtual support as part of our acute care bedside support and quality strategy signifies a pivotal step forward in how we envision the future of healthcare at Baptist Health. Baptist Health first added virtual care in 2005, and we have continued to advance with the latest technology bringing us to where we are today with our partnership with Caregility. This expansion is more than an initiative; it’s a commitment to providing health equity across our state, setting new standards in patient and provider satisfaction, and furthering our mission to be the employer of choice in Arkansas.”

– Kourtney Matlock
President of Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute
and system post-acute services

The partnership exponentially increases the eyes and ears able to focus on patients, reducing pressure on bedside staff by redistributing tasks that a virtual nurse or support staff can field. As a result of increased telehealth services in acute care settings, healthcare systems see significant time savings and improved throughput (the process of moving patients through the hospital system from admission to discharge). Having virtual options at the bedside appeals to patients as well, as evidenced by improved patient satisfaction ratings in early field trials.

“We are at a point where this type of care model is not an option for our health systems, it is the only way they can address staffing issues and remain competitive,” said Caregility President and COO Mike Brandofino. “This partnership with Baptist Health is a great example of how Caregility can make it easy to deploy intelligent devices and services to enhance patient care through virtual programs.”​

Caregility Cloud™ allows health systems to easily centralize and scale programs such as Virtual Nursing, Virtual Patient Observation, Virtual Rounding, and Virtual Consultations in inpatient settings, improving staffing flexibility and workflow efficiency and making it easier to engage remote specialists and interpreters to support patient access and health equity. Trusted by more than 1,000 U.S. hospitals for high reliability, the platform is favored for its adaptability to a multitude of workflows and integrations with clinical platforms, including Epic.

To learn more, contact Caregility at info@caregility.com.

About Baptist Health
For more than a century, Baptist Health has delivered all its best in health care through Christian compassion and innovative services. Baptist Health, Arkansas’s most comprehensive healthcare organization, is here For You. For Life. – with more than 250 points of access that include twelve hospitals, urgent care centers, a senior living community, over 100 primary and specialty care clinics, a college with studies in nursing and allied health, and a graduate residency program. It is also the largest private not-for-profit healthcare organization based in Arkansas, providing care through the support of approximately 11,000 employees, groundbreaking treatments, renowned physicians and community outreach programs. For more information about Baptist Health, visit Baptist-Health.com, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST or download the myBaptistHealth app

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 encounters, 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 and millions of virtual sessions annually, Caregility is helping transform healthcare delivery across inpatient, outpatient, and home settings.

Media Contact:
Jess Clifton
Senior Manager, Marketing Communications
jclifton@caregility.com
(678) 360-9043

Hybrid Care Innovation at UMass Memorial Health

Digital innovation is a cornerstone of UMass Memorial Health’s strategy, garnering the health system impressive accolades including HIMSS Stage 7 certification for EMR adoption, CHIME’s Most Wired Level 8 certification, and Epic Gold Stars Level 10 status.

Dave Smith, Senior Director of Digital Innovation for UMass Memorial Health, attributes his organization’s competitive edge to a physician-led leadership team that truly embraces digital transformation. UMass Memorial has been delivering hybrid care for the better part of 20 years through its flagship eICU and tele-stroke programs. The throes of the pandemic and ensuing challenges related to patient safety, capacity management, patient flow, and staffing shortages reignited interest in hybrid care innovation, leading the health system to pursue additional programs like hospital at home, remote observation, and remote patient monitoring (RPM) in recent years.

In the enlightening session “Hybrid Care Innovation: The ROI of Bedside Virtual Care at Scale,” part of Becker’s Healthcare’s 2024 Digital Health and Telehealth Virtual Event, Smith sat down with Caregility President and COO Mike Brandofino to share compelling insights into the transformative hybrid care initiatives his organization is pursuing, how his team approaches ROI, and what it takes to scale new hybrid care models.



Hybrid Care’s Return on Value

UMass Memorial’s Hospital-at-Home program is a great example of how health systems are bringing resources to bear to improve outcomes, efficiency, and the experience for patients and clinicians. Patients receive twice-daily visits at home, supported by EMS partners working in collaboration with UMass doctors and nurses. They also have immediate access to virtual nursing support. The health system employs a four-to-one ratio for field nurses and a 30-to-one ratio for virtual nurses.

By bringing acute care to the patient’s home, the team has been able to expand capacity. “In our first year of operation, we saved over 3,000 bed days at our busiest hospitals,” shared Smith.

“With our eICU program, we monitor 150 critical care beds around the clock with intensivists on any given shift and the aid of a pharmacist at night,” Smith said. Since its inception in 2006, UMass’s eICU program has seen a 27% reduction in patient mortality and fewer patient complications, reducing care costs.

“For programs like tele-stroke and tele-psych, the ROI is really about improving access,” Smith continued. “But also, community hospitals see the ROI because they don’t have to hire and retain a full-time specialist. Instead, they buy professional services from a tertiary health system like UMass Memorial.”

The health system’s remote video monitoring (RVM) program has shown the strongest direct labor-cost ROI by enabling a single care team member to support six patients instead of conventional one-on-one observation ratios. “To take advantage of the full 12-patient panel, we assign each observation tech six primary patients and six backup patients for a total of 12,” Smith shared. “For every remote observation tech, we save $300,000 a year in direct labor costs.”

The health system is also leveraging AI solutions for radiology, ophthalmology, and ambient dictation to save providers valuable time. “I don’t think AI is going to replace doctors anytime soon, but I do think the ones who embrace it will probably surpass the ones who don’t,” noted Smith.

Scaling Hybrid Care Innovation

Smith sees digital health innovation as “the cost of doing business for healthcare systems that want to innovate and remain competitive.”

“We're in the process of building a new 72-bed inpatient facility that will open about a year from now and every bed will be wired with Caregility technology. We'll use the technology for a variety of use cases like virtual rounding, remote observation, specialty consults, patient/family communication, and even tele-ICU level care. And the funny thing is, it was an easy sell to hospital leadership because they understand the importance of hybrid care and balancing staffing demands. I just think hybrid care is the new standard.”
Dave Smith
Senior Director of Digital Innovation, UMass Memorial Health

Smith champions platforms that can be leveraged across the enterprise over point solutions. “To do anything at scale, it cannot exist in silos and pockets that are scattered throughout the organization,” he shared. “A good example is our commitment to building a digital medicine hub. We’re taking most of our virtual services and putting them under one roof. By doing so, not only will it be a showcase for our health system of the future, but we’re expecting to find operational synergies by having these virtual care teams collaborate in the same physical space. So, teams like eICU, transfer center, RVM, RPM, interpreter services, and virtual nursing will all be working alongside each other.”

“We’re also investing in a new digital innovation team to support rapid scalability. Digital health and especially AI is evolving so quickly that we need to operate at a faster pace to keep up. I’ll be leading a new multidisciplinary team to focus on emerging technologies that support our system initiatives and foster collaboration with our care teams. The whole idea is to identify opportunities, experiment with proofs of concept, fail fast, if necessary, iterate, and then deliver a solution or look at alternatives.”

“People are embracing technology in ways never thought possible and it’s making hybrid care models not only plausible but also practical.”

Watch the full session recording:  Hybrid Care Innovation: The ROI of Bedside Virtual Care at Scale

Virtual Nursing Smart Rooms & Clinical Workflow Optimization

Staffing shortages, clinician burnout, and overwhelmed new hires – sound familiar? The same challenges hindering hospitals across the nation prompted the team at OhioHealth to create Virtual Nursing “smart rooms” to help stem the tides of nurse attrition. Executives from the health system and their technology partners recently shared their experience getting the emerging care model off the ground in the webinar “Clinical Workflow Optimization: The Role of Virtual Nursing.”

Arika Thomas, MBA, BSN, RN, Director of Nursing for Inpatient Services at OhioHealth’s new Pickerington Methodist Hospital; Erica Braun, MFA, User Experience and Product Design Advisor for OhioHealth; and Tom Gutman, MBA, Senior Consultant of Simulation Technology for OhioHealth, joined eVideon Clinical Implementation Director Erin Pangallo, MS, BSN, RN, and Caregility Clinical Program Manager Ben Cassidy, MBA, MSN, RN, CCRN, to discuss the health system’s approach.

Access the full webinar recording here.

Using Smart Room Technology to Deliver Virtual Care

OhioHealth’s Pickerington Methodist Hospital, which opened on December 6, 2023, was built with Virtual Nursing and digital patient engagement in mind. Patient rooms at the hospital are outfitted with a 65-inch smart TV connected to Caregility’s new APS100 Pro telehealth edge device.

Each “smart room” is powered by the Vibe Health by eVideon smart room platform, which includes the Insight digital whiteboard, Aware digital door sign, Companion bedside tablet, and interactive Engage TV solution. These solutions elevate the inpatient experience with personalized communication, tailored education, and self-service tools that improve patient satisfaction, loyalty, and outcomes while alleviating non-clinical responsibilities for bedside nurses.

Integration with the Caregility Cloud™ virtual care platform allows the OhioHealth team to seamlessly facilitate bedside Virtual Nursing and Virtual Patient Observation sessions via the footwall TV. Together, the platforms create a digital health hub in every patient room that allows hybrid care teams (virtual and in-person) to work together seamlessly to provide patients with the highest level of care and meaningful interaction throughout their care journey.

A Co-Caring Approach to Nursing

OhioHealth’s Virtual Nursing journey was methodical and collaborative, beginning with a co-design phase that involved an in-depth review of internal workflows alongside floor nurses. This phase aimed to identify and eliminate “pebbles in the shoe” of RNs, as Thomas puts it – small, yet significant inefficiencies in workflows and routines. Following a nine-month pilot at two sister site units, the program was refined and launched at Pickerington, with the hospital now reaping the benefits of this innovative approach to nursing.

The co-caring model, a cornerstone of OhioHealth’s program, blends traditional and virtual nursing roles to create a hybrid care team. This model includes bedside RNs and LPNs handling direct patient care, patient support assistants (PSAs) managing daily living activities, and virtual nurses focusing on administrative tasks, patient education, and care coordination. Virtual nurses support 15 to 20 patients assigned to their nursing team.

Just two months into the program, OhioHealth’s collaborative approach has led to significant improvements in patient and nurse satisfaction, with nurses reporting reduced stress and more time for bedside care. Patients appreciate the added care provided by virtual nurses.

“Something that we've noticed is now that nurses have support with that admission, our dead-bed time has shrunk.”
Erica Braun
User Experience and Product Design Advisor, OhioHealth

“We’re also looking at usability and frequency metrics,” said Braun. “Caregility has a great backend dashboard we’re monitoring to see how many calls our virtual nurses are taking in a day, on certain days, and at certain times of day. Right now, we have two virtual nurses per shift. We’re trying to assess, as we grow at Pickerington and beyond, is this enough? Are they covering too many or too few patients? We’re really trying to understand their productivity to inform how we could scale.”

How to Start and Scale Virtual Nursing

During the discussion, speakers offered advice to other health systems looking to get started with or scale Virtual Nursing.

“Our recommendation is to start with a big win that’s easy to implement,” said Cassidy. “Once you have that one device set up in one patient’s room and one virtual nurse, you can carry out simple workflows. Think about admissions and discharges as well as hourly rounding and assessments. Those are where you’ll see the biggest time savings. You may also see some reduction in incremental overtime by taking some of that heavy documentation off the bedside.”

Virtual-Nursing-Workflows-by-Complexity-Caregility

“Then you can move over to more complex workflows,” Cassidy continued. “You can have multiple use cases using the same device in that patient’s room at the same time. You can have a wound care nurse go in to do their assessment and on top of that, you can have someone virtually observing the patient in a sitter format. Expanding that model is a big lift but it’s also needed. Making that “room of the future” allows you to impact care throughout the entire organization, not just one unit or facility.”

Elevating the Standard of Care

The success of Pickerington Methodist Hospital’s Virtual Nursing program is a testament to the power of innovation and collaboration in healthcare. The hospital has set a new standard for nursing care that better addresses staffing shortages, enhances nurse and patient satisfaction, and improves overall care quality. As the program scales, its impact is expected to grow, offering a blueprint for other institutions seeking to embrace virtual nursing “smart room” technology.

OhioHealth’s journey from conceptualization to successful implementation highlights the transformative potential of technology in healthcare. By prioritizing co-design, embracing technological solutions, and fostering a collaborative care model, the health system has not only enhanced care delivery but also positioned itself as a leader in healthcare innovation.


Do you have questions about Virtual Nursing? Set up a discovery call with one of our specialists today!

Virtual Nursing’s Reach Within Hospitals

In a recent HealthLeaders article, “Hospitals are Looking for Hard ROI in Virtual Nursing,” author Eric Wicklund confers with healthcare executives on the difficult task of pinning down value for the nascent care model. Given the multitude of ways that Virtual Nursing can be deployed, one of the most challenging aspects of rolling out a program is identifying where virtual nurse resources can make the most impact. This will inevitably vary from facility to facility.

“Each hospital is approaching the issue from a different direction, ranging from basic [virtual] sitter programs targeting patient monitoring and fall prevention to platforms that support new nurses to more complex telenursing platforms that combine monitoring with administrative functions,” Wicklund observes.

Although determining where virtual nurse resources can deliver the most significant benefits can be a complex task, one of virtual nursing’s most remarkable attributes is its adaptability and versatility, enabling its deployment across various units within the hospital. Here are several illustrative examples of how virtual nurses can be leveraged to improve patient care across the inpatient enterprise.

Tele-ICU Support: One of the most well-known applications of virtual nursing is in the intensive care unit (ICU), where virtual nurses provide round-the-clock monitoring, early intervention, and clinical support to high-risk patients. They work in conjunction with intensivists and on-site staff to enhance patient care and safety, assisting with real-time data analysis and intervention.

Emergency Department (ED) Assistance: Virtual nurses can play a crucial role in the ED, supporting triage, patient assessment, and timely decision-making. By providing remote guidance and expertise, they help alleviate the pressure on ED staff, ensuring efficient care delivery, especially during high-demand periods.

Cardiology Care Coordination: In cardiology units, virtual nurses can assist in monitoring and managing care for patients with heart conditions, including angioplasty and stent procedure recovery. They help ensure timely detection of patient deterioration, medication adherence, and ongoing patient education, promoting better outcomes for cardiac patients.

Sepsis Care: Virtual nurses are well-suited to monitor patients at risk of sepsis. They can continuously assess vital signs and clinical data, identify early warning signs, and alert care teams to intervene promptly, potentially preventing this life-threatening condition.

Neurological Care: Patients in neurology units, such as those recovering from strokes or traumatic brain injuries, often require close monitoring and frequent interventions due to memory impairment. Virtual nurses can provide consistent support, reminding patients about instructions and interventions, and helping reduce the burden on in-person staff.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs): Beyond the hospital, virtual nurses can extend their reach to post-acute care settings like SNFs. They assist with patient assessments, medication management, and rehabilitation programs, ensuring that patients continue to receive high-quality care even after discharge.

This diverse landscape of use cases underscores the flexibility of Virtual Nursing. Healthcare organizations can tailor their adoption journey to meet specific goals, introducing virtual nurse resources to units most in need of additional support and units most likely to correlate to patient outcome improvements.

When expanding virtual nursing programs to additional units, it’s essential to start small and grow incrementally. As you implement your initial program, you’ll likely find that clinical staff closest to patient care delivery will generate new ideas and identify opportunities for improvement. Their feedback and insights can drive innovation, unlock additional ROI, and shape the future of virtual nursing within your organization.

Many see Virtual Nursing as a natural next step in the evolution of patient care models, proposing that there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when virtual nurses are an essential part of every hospital care team. In addition to helping health systems offset chronic staffing problems, looking ahead, Virtual Nursing models can introduce new pathways for providers to extend care into patients’ homes to support chronic care management and preventive medicine on a broader scale.


Interested in exploring Virtual Nursing solutions for your team? Set up a discovery call today!

Hospital Leaders Weigh in on Virtual Nursing

Healthcare delivery is undergoing a transformation and virtual nursing is at the forefront. In a recent webinar co-hosted by Caregility and the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), healthcare leaders from institutions at various stages of implementing Virtual Nursing programs gathered to discuss their experiences.

Virtual care pioneer and Caregility CNO Wendy Deibert led the illuminating panel discussion featuring Tracey Kopenhaver, Operations Manager, Geisinger Inpatient Virtual Care; Christine Coriell, Director of Nursing Operations, OhioHealth Resource Center; and Debra Marinari, Associate Vice President, Hospital Operations, Mary Washington Healthcare.

2023-Virtul-Nursing-Webinar-Thumb-Caregility

Access the webinar recording here.


Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:

Adoption Drivers

All panelists pointed to nursing workforce challenges as key motivators to pursue Virtual Nursing, but technology and ROI had to line up.

Addressing Nursing Shortages and Burnout

The virtual nursing model allows healthcare organizations to tackle staffing shortages and burnout by distributing the workload more evenly.

“We were motivated by a few things – primarily the nursing shortage, nurse turnover, nurse burnout, and really looking at our care team redesign. Looking at current state, where we don’t have quite enough nurses to go around, and our nurses are overworked and busy and can’t get to all the things that they need to do in a day… How can we try to future-proof or buffer that?” – Tracey Kopenhaver

Technology Aligns with Strategic Goals

By leveraging existing technology that supports remote patient observation teams and tele-ICU programs, Virtual Nursing programs align well with strategic goals to centralize and scale virtual care.

“When we think about our Nursing strategic goals at OhioHealth, one is having a flexible workforce and second is maximizing the technology we have at OhioHealh. So, this was just a natural next step into the virtual world.” – Christine Coriell

Demonstrated ROI

Panelists addressed the importance of justifying costs, typically vetted through pilot programs.

“It had to be cost neutral – that’s the model that we took. So, we had to make sure that whatever we brought in was going to have a good return on investment – not just the quality metrics, but [improving] satisfaction and decreasing turnover.” – Debra Marinari

Strategy

While there is variation in how Virtual Nursing workloads are assigned within each organization, some standard practices emerged. Each panelist’s healthcare organization uses Epic’s EHR in different capacities for streamlining workflows. Each organization also staffs virtual nurses onsite, with Geisinger employing a hybrid model that also includes nurses working from home.

Getting Started

“The number one recommendation I would give to anybody who is thinking about starting a virtual nurse program is don’t let perfection get in the way of progress. We started very low budget. We repurposed carts. We hired per-diem staff to start with and borrowed some staff from our virtual ICU program. We really went in on a shoestring to get it off the ground. We’ve been able to demonstrate the return and we have the financial support to move ahead with a more permanent solution.” – Tracey Kopenhaver

Staffing Models

Virtual nurse staffing models varied across panelists. Coriell noted that, in their current phase, OhioHealth virtual nurses work Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., with plans to extend to 24/7 coverage.

“The virtual nurse will be assigned to patients that all will roll up to the many nurses overseeing that care at the bedside. We’re utilizing a flex team of nurses with knowledge across different care sites for now. A future focus is on having dedicated full-time employees (FTEs) for the program.” – Christine Coriell

Geisinger takes a slightly different approach, with Virtual Nursing overseeing specific tasks.

“There are no specific patient assignments for virtual nurses since they currently focus mainly on admissions and discharges.” – Tracey Kopenhaver

Meanwhile, Marinari and the Mary Washington Healthcare team elected to bring on additional FTEs for virtual nursing from the very beginning.

“The model had to be really such that the nurses at the bedside did not feel like they had less resources, but actually more. We had to balance the FTEs for each of the departments, and what that workload was going to be [in terms of] patient ratios. The virtual nurses are assigned to patients, currently managing around 15 to 16 patients during the day and up to 20 at night.” – Debra Marinari

Goals and Results

Positively impacting nurse and patient experience are core objectives for each organization.

KPIs

“Key outcomes that we really want from this program [include] retention of nurses, decreasing that workload and stress at the bedside, increasing time for the bedside nurses to be able to provide care for their patients, improving nurse satisfaction [and] patient satisfaction, and then some cost savings. Ultimately, we would look at time saved with length of stay and a few other metrics as well.” – Christine Coriell

“We’re looking at our HCAHPS – nurse responsiveness and communication with the nurse scores in particular.” – Tracey Kopenhaver

Time Management & Efficiency

All panelists agreed that virtual nursing significantly improves time management, reducing the workload of bedside nurses.

“The thing that we’ve been able to measure the most is the time saved for the bedside nurses.” – Tracey Kopenhaver

Marinari and the Mary Washington Healthcare team conducted time studies to demonstrate time savings, assessing the time from when the discharge order is written to the time the patient leaves as a metric. Coriell highlighted the role of existing relationships between virtual nurses and unit staff in speeding up tasks and improving efficiency.

Conclusion

Virtual Nursing programs are not just a trend; they are a substantial step toward enhancing healthcare delivery. These programs alleviate staff burnout, improve patient experience, and provide financial returns. With insights from leaders in the field mounting, it’s clear that Virtual Nursing is a viable and vital part of the future of healthcare.

Watch the full Virtual Nursing panel discussion with Geisinger, OhioHealth, and Mary Washington Healthcare here.


Looking for guidance on how to implement, optimize, or expand your Virtual Nursing Program? Set up a Virtual Nursing discovery call today.

What Nurse Unions, CNIOs, and Virtual Care Have in Common

Workforce challenges continue to be a chief obstacle for healthcare provider organizations. Nurse burnout and attrition reached a fever pitch during the pandemic, leading to a surge in nursing strikes nationwide. Nursing unions are at the forefront, championing better staff-to-patient ratios, safety measures, wages, and working conditions for their members.

2023 research from the Health Management Academy sheds light on some of the ways hospital clinical leadership is working to tackle nursing concerns. Developing more sustainable documentation protocols to reduce the burden on nursing teams and leveraging technology to reduce workplace violence were among the top priorities cited by Chief Nursing Information Officers (CNIOs) in leading health systems.

Integrating virtual nursing into care offerings, monitoring technology’s influence on nursing labor cost trends, and streamlining tech stacks to improve clinical efficiency were also cited as key focus areas. CNIOs are keenly attuned to technology’s impact on clinical workflows and experience, and rightfully so.

Recent McKinsey research suggests that hospitals could free up as much as 20% of nurses’ time during a 12-hour shiftthrough tech enablement.

McKinsey Research - Nurse Tech Enablement



Many of the tasks the McKinsey research highlights as being ripe for tech enablement – documentation, hunting and gathering, and interdisciplinary communication – align with virtual nursing objectives.

[White Paper: A Guide to Virtual Nursing in Inpatient Settings]

Virtual Nurse: Friend or Foe?

Given the fair share of turmoil and turnover in the nursing profession in recent years, it’s unsurprising that the concept of virtual nursing has encountered naysayers. Clinical resistance to the hybrid care model largely centers on the misconception that virtual nurses will replace bedside RNs. Virtual nurses are intended to augment and support existing teams, not supersede them, by taking tasks off of overburdened nurses’ plates.

“It’s about alleviating [nurses’] pain points and making the job more satisfying,” says Caregility Clinical Program Manager Irene Goliash, RN. “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.”

Virtual nursing introduces remote resources floor nurses can tap for patient care support and staff safety monitoring. It also introduces a succession plan that allows hospitals to move experienced nurses who age out of bedside care into virtual roles to preserve institutional knowledge.

Selecting the right virtual care platform can also impact the perception of virtual nursing. To appeal to clinicians, solutions should offer a consistent, simple interface and include things like training components that reduce total onboarding time for new nurses. Identifying a solution that is agile enough to be leveraged enterprise-wide can help health systems achieve goals related to clinical resource consolidation.

[Learn more about Caregility Cloud™ virtual care platform]

The Shared Mission to Elevate Nursing

Nursing unions, hospital clinical leadership, and virtual nursing programs all have one thing in common: They support a shared mission to address nursing pain points to improve clinician experience, reduce burnout, drive efficiency, and positively impact patient care.

The challenges faced by the nursing workforce are multi-faceted and require a comprehensive approach to address them effectively. Integrating virtual nursing into comprehensive care offerings is one way to alleviate some of the pressures faced by bedside RNs, without replacing them. Leveraging technology, healthcare organizations can ultimately improve the experience for clinicians and, in turn, patient outcomes.

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.

Irene Goliash, RN
Clinical Program Manager, Caregility

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!