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Mitigating the Nursing Shortage with a 10:1 Virtual Patient Observation Solution

The ongoing shortage of trained nursing professionals has forced healthcare institutions to consider alternative ways of maintaining patient safety. MedSitter for 10:1 virtual patient observation helps hospitals to observe more patients without straining their remaining staff resources.

The Issue of Nursing Shortages in the U.S.

Despite its presence in the news, the shortage of trained nursing staff is not new within the healthcare industry. In fact, hospitals across the nation have struggled to manage the existing workforce-to-patient ratio for decades. (Source: AACN). In the past, economic and social influences like recessions have led to a deficiency in nursing staff. Today hospitals face an increased need for healthcare professionals while a significant amount of nursing staff reaches retirement age. Not to mention, many nurses have left healthcare recently following burnout from the COVID-19 pandemic (Source: Forbes).

According to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, approximately 1.2 million new nurses will be needed in the U.S. alone by 2030 (Source: USAHS).

How Staffing Shortages Affect Patient Safety

As deadlines for health care workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 continue, hospitals and nursing homes around the country are doing their best to prepare for record levels of 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 levels of experienced RNs. (Source: PSNet).

With fewer nurses available to work, many hospitals are preparing contingency plans that include cutting back on noncritical services and limiting nursing home admissions. (Source: NPR). Patient falls, while a significant patient safety issue that can lead to serious injury and even death, have been deemed non-critical in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staffing resources are being taken away from patient observation in favor of mitigating more critical patient safety issues.


Combating Nursing Shortages with Technology

In light of the nursing shortage is putting a strain on physicians and hospital systems, several organizations are ramping up their use of various healthcare technologies to relieve some of the pressure. For example, telehealth solutions are being used to facilitate remote healthcare access. Patients frequently use video visits to talk with their doctors or conduct follow-up appointments remotely. This increasing emphasis on the virtual patient experience is rapidly reshaping the healthcare landscape.

While virtual telehealth visits are thriving in popularity, the use of other at-home virtual solutions, such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) has also made a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare services.

RPM not only makes the patient's experience more pleasant, but it also makes healthcare providers' jobs easier. RPM keeps patients safe, reduces the length of inpatient hospital stays, and improve patient outcomes. (Source: HealthTech Magazine).

Leveraging Technology for Inpatients

While telehealth solutions have improved the patient’s at-home experience, there are also inpatient technologies in place that help to keep patients safe while combating the ongoing nursing shortage. As previously discussed, inpatient falls are a significant patient safety risk. MedSitter was developed to help reduce patient falls, and with a 10:1 patient to observer ratio, it has also proven to combat nursing shortages by making existing staff more efficient.

MedSitter reduces the need for a 1:1 observer-to-patient ratio by leveraging non-clinical staff to monitor multiple patients simultaneously. This solution keeps patients safe without pulling nursing staff from more critical duties. With this virtual patient observation system, a technician can safely and efficiently monitor multiple patients and then direct clinical staff to patients in need of hands-on care.

The MedSitter Difference

The MedSitter solution was designed with clinicians in mind. These embedded features make hospital life easier for staff while prioritizing patient safety.

  • Instantaneous communication between patients and sitters via two-way audio and video. With MedSitter, the video connection between the sitter and the patient is always on. With just one click, sitters can appear on video in the patient's room. Persistent video closely mimics the immediacy of in-person communication. The quick connection is vital in emergencies and helps sitters to establish strong relationships with patients.
  • Proactive design. Sitters are supported with motion detection technology, full-field night vision that moves with the sitter-controlled camera, and escalating communication methods. This way, sitters may be truly proactive in preventing patient injury rather than reactive to a witnessed patient injury. With this system, one sitter can truly be in ten places at once.
  • Easily accessible data. Secure information from the MedSitter platform can be funneled into your EMR. Hospital staff can also pull their own reports on sitter hours, incident prevention, and cost savings. Reports can be generated on-demand or can be requested from your MedSitter quality manager.
  • Full communication support. Your pre-exiting nurse calling system can be integrated into the MedSitter Software so that contacting floor staff is as easy as pressing a button. In addition, the software supports cross-language communication in dozens of world languages, including American Sign Language. Text-to-voice is also supported in world languages for custom messages.
  • Easy implementation. Installation is quick and easy. MedSitter carts are pre-assembled and configured to your Wi-Fi network before they are even shipped to your facility.

MedSitter is a powerful way to mitigate the nursing staff shortage without sacrificing patient safety. Fill out the form on the bottom of this page to schedule a free demo of the solution.

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