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MedSitter: Breaking Down Barriers in Patient Care

Barriers oftentimes get in the way of proper and prompt healthcare services. MedSitter remote patient observation breaks down these barriers in patient care, prioritizing patient safety and satisfaction. 

Ensuring patient satisfaction and safety is not always easy. There are a number of barriers that can come in the way, but leveraging technology solutions can help make it easier. At MedSitter, we focus on patient safety by recognizing these barriers and developing solutions to solve them. Let’s look at a few barriers MedSitter breaks down.  

Staff Shortages 

It is no secret that maintaining appropriate staffing in healthcare facilities is essential to providing a safe environment for healthcare personnel and patients. Patient falls, infections, medication errors, and even mortality have all been connected to insufficient nurse staffing (Source: PSNet). But unfortunately, a shortage in nurse staffing is far from new to the healthcare industry. In fact, hospitals across the nation have struggled to manage the existing workforce-to-patient ratio for decades (Source: AACN). Now, coupled with recent instances that make this shortage even worse, including the COVID-19 pandemic which led to considerable staff burnouts, staff shortages are an even more pressing issue today. 

With MedSitter, healthcare facilities do not have to juggle the options to hire more staff, or redirect staff from other areas to observe patients. Both options result in strained resources. Instead, with remote patient observation, hospitals can simply increase the efficiency of each staff member by 10x. Remote patient observation connects at-risk patients to remote observers over video through mobile carts equipped with cameras. 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. Consider a situation where a hospital has 15 patients to observe and only two sitters; with MedSitter’s 10:1 observation ratio, those two sitters can watch all 15 patients and the next 5 incoming patients without a worry. Not only does Virtual Patient Observation make better utilization of staff and resources, it also allows healthcare institutions the ability to provide better patient care in the long run. 

Breaking out of the 1:1 Observation Mindset 

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. Yet 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.  

Historically, each at-risk patient would be assigned a sitter, caregiver, or nurse to supervise in-person. That sitter would be responsible for keeping an eye on the patient, giving them company so as to benefit their mental health, and preventing adverse events like patient falls. This process was always maintained through 1 on 1 Observation: 1 patient and 1 nursing assistant. It is difficult for providers to break out of the 1:1 mindset – since it is reasonable to assume that 1:1 care is the most effective. The problem is that 1:1 observation is severely limited. With 1:1 care, a hospital that staffs three observers can only watch 3 patients at any given time. With remote observation technology, those same three observers can watch up to 30 patients at one time – thus drastically extending their impact and resulting in more avoided falls. 

Investments in remote observation technology, such as MedSitter’s Virtual Patient Observation Solution, is proving to reduce patient harm, leading to significant financial savings, and more importantly, better patient outcomes. This reduces costs, keeps patients safe, and improves  nurse retainment. Not only does Virtual Patient Observation make better utilization of staff and resources, it also allows healthcare institutions the ability to provide better patient care in the long run. 

The Language Barrier 

In order to provide language access services, most healthcare institutions rely on a combination of onsite interpreters, video remote interpreters, and over-the-phone interpreters. Most of the time, an interpreter is used when the two parties that need to speak (i.e. patient and provider) are physically in the same room. Yet, these resources can be hard to access as quickly as needed during emergencies, leading to inadequate healthcare services. With MedSitter, remote observers can successfully redirect the patient in their own language at a moment's notice, creating a pleasant experience for the patient while simultaneously helping them to avoid serious injury. 

The MedSitter patient observation platform includes pre-recorded messages in more than 60 languages for quick communication with limited English proficiency patients. The MedSitter system was designed with patient safety in mind, and that goes for every patient regardless of their primary language spoken. It is unreasonable to keep an interpreter on-call for ad hoc communication, which is why pre-recorded communication scripts are built into the MedSitter platform in more than 60 languagesincluding American Sign Language for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients, for whom communication in the hearing world is already a challenge. Since language can be a very frustrating barrier in patient care, this function can create a comfort level that reduces patient anxiety. 

In addition, MedSitter observers can construct their own sentences in English and machine translation will play it for the patient in their primary language, opening up communication options for those unique situations that always seem to arise in healthcare. Real-time machine translation, while limited, is incredibly effective in preventing adverse events. The MedSitter system was designed with patient safety in mind, and that goes for every patient, regardless of their primary language spoken.  

If you are interested in utilizing MedSitter in your facility, fill out the form on our Contact Us page now.  

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