Patient Safety Observation benefits patients, staff, and healthcare administration in a variety of ways. Find out more in this white paper.
Patient safety is of tremendous importance within the healthcare system. It is both a long-term strategic goal of most healthcare institutions and a concern for individuals seeking care. Hundreds of thousands of patients perish annually from preventable mistakes (Source: Journal of Patient Safety). A major cause of patient injury and death is patient falls, with around 1 million inpatient falls occurring annually in the United States (Source: National Library of Medicine). Studies have shown that a multifactorial fall prevention program is the most effective in lowering patient fall rates (Source: National Library of Medicine), with patient observation playing a significant role.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing nursing shortage has made it challenging to support a 1:1 onsite sitting program, and thus remote patient observation has begun to emerge as an optimal solution.
What is remote patient observation?
Remote patient observation is a technology-enabled solution that connects at-risk patients to remote observers over video. Mobile carts equipped with cameras are left with at-risk patients. An observer at a command center can observe multiple patients at one time via a video connection and can contact both the patient and onsite medical staff as necessary. Utilizing one patient observer for several patients serves to stretch staff resources without sacrificing patient safety.
How Remote Patient Observation Benefits Patients
A safe hospital stay is a reasonable expectation of every patient. No one enters a hospital expecting to sustain further injury. That being said, both intrinsic and extrinsic factors can lead to patient falls. Patient observers are trained to help prevent adverse events. With an observer, a patient is never truly alone. If they enter a dangerous situation, an observer is there to redirect them or alert onsite medical staff.
How Remote Patient Observation Benefits Staff
Patient observation programs are often managed by nursing departments. The United States has been facing a shortage of healthcare personnel for years. Needless to say, nursing departments are stretched to their absolute limit.
A remote observation solution can turn one patient observer into ten. One observer at a command station can effectively monitor multiple patients at once, thus extending staff resources without sacrificing patient safety. Overall, this system saves nurses time and effort.
How Remote Patient Observation Benefits Healthcare Administration
The financial impact of remote patient observers can be incredibly substantial. Simply putting an observer in charge of multiple patients saves in payroll, tax, management, and worker’s compensation expenses, but the real financial impact comes from adverse patient events that remote observers prevent entirely.
Falls have been deemed a “never event” by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Source: Agency for Healthcare Research Quality), which means that reimbursement for patient falls is severely limited. When a patient falls in a hospital and sustains injury, it extends the length of that patient’s stay by 6.3 days on average and costs the hospital $14,000 on average (Source: Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare). One avoided fall from an observer that is being leveraged to watch multiple patients can pay for the entire remote patient observation system.
Patient safety is a major priority for patients, patient care staff, and hospital administration. Patient observers can be used to help keep patients safe during their stay, but staffing and budgetary limitations make 1:1 observation difficult to maintain. Remote patient observation marries efficiency with consciences care so that at-risk patients are never left alone, nursing staffs are not stretched too thin, and hospitals avoid costly accidents.
Want to learn more? Download the full white paper here to read about the MedSitter difference, as well as how else MedSitter benefits patients, staff, and healthcare administration.