Healthcare staffing shortages are nothing new. However, technology like MedSitter remote patient observation can help serve as a nursing shortage solution.
The Issue of Nursing Shortages in the U.S.
The story of healthcare staffing shortages is nothing new. What began in the 1930s, due to multiple technology, economic, and health care-related events, is something that seems to be a never-ending tale. (Source: Penn Nursing) The demand for nurses has simply grown so high that the United States is having a difficult time keeping up. Add this to a global pandemic, and current staffing shortages are no surprise—though it is a huge concern. Nurses and the challenges they face continue to be at the forefront of the national conversation. According to a report from Incredible Health, over a third (34%) of the nurses surveyed reported that it is very likely that they will quit their job by the end of 2022. 44% cited burnout and a high-stress environment as the reason for their desire to leave. (Source: Incredible Health)
Despite seemingly overwhelming challenges, medical staff has been able to persevere. This is largely due to innovative healthcare technology that can help one provider to do more with less. One such piece of digital tech that has been taking the medical staffing world by storm is virtual patient observation. With MedSitter virtual patient observation, one patient observer (or patient sitter) can watch up to ten patients at once. Let’s see how exactly this new technology can benefit nurses.
How Remote Patient Observation Benefits Nurses
Patient observation programs are often managed by nursing departments. While the sitters are not likely to be registered nurses themselves, common qualifications include CNA, AHA Certification, Certified Patient Care Technician, and LPN. (Source: Indeed) The United States has been facing a shortage of healthcare personnel for years, due in large part to the aging Baby Boom population and advanced medicine that extends lifespans. (Source: Duquesne University) A 2018 study concluded that by 2025, the United States will be facing a shortage of 95,000 nursing assistants. (Source: Mercer HPA) Alarmingly, these projections were made before the COVID-19 pandemic, which claimed the lives of an estimated 115,000 healthcare workers globally (Source: STAT) and led to 18% of the US healthcare workforce resigning from healthcare positions. (Source: Becker’s Healthcare) 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. Additionally, remote observers are able to maintain distance from contagious patients, which improves workplace safety. Overall, this system supports nurses by saving them time and effort.
The MedSitter Difference
Both the MedSitter hardware and software were designed for clinicians and include some innovative features that are not seen anywhere else in the market. These features truly set the MedSitter solution apart:
Persistent Video: With MedSitter, the connection between the patient and the observer is always on. If the observer needs to speak to the patient, they can appear onscreen on the MedSitter cart with the click of a button. This instantaneous connection goes a long way in preventing adverse events. The video is particularly important, considering that the addition of nonverbal, contextual, and behavioral information leads to more effective communication in a healthcare environment when compared to audio-only communication. (Source: NCBI)
Full-Field Night Vision: The sitter-controlled camera covers the entire patient room, regardless of the light conditions or the time of day
Cross-Language Communication: Not every patient requiring observation speaks English, and so the MedSitter software contains pre-recorded messages in more than 60 languages for quick communication with limited English proficiency patients. The system also includes a full library of pre-recorded video messages in American Sign Language, which helps healthcare facilities to fulfill their language access requirements as outlined by The Joint Commission. (Source: Joint Commission) The features listed here are completely unique to the MedSitter product and go a long way in helping remote observers be as effective as they can in preventing patient injury
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