How Telehealth can help Inpatient Care, and what a hybrid future looks like

How Telehealth can help Inpatient Care, and what a hybrid future looks like

Telehealth opens up many new avenues to expand access to care, streamline the delivery of care, create new workflows and improve patient outcomes. Other examples include virtual care in patients’ homes and assisted living communities. To be able to deliver quality care to patients and support the caregivers along the way, whether they’re specialists or part of a remote call center, you need to have virtual access to every room that would potentially host a patient. Utilizing telehealth technology helps alleviate overburdened and short-staffed clinicians as much as it helps them care for their patients. For example, an experienced nurse who has an injury or condition that prevents them from physically being on the patient floor still can provide their expertise by virtually assessing low-acuity patients, freeing up floor staff to care for patients that require in-person assistance. In outpatient settings, there has been significant positive feedback from patients regarding virtual physicians’ appointments, where patients reported feeling they are receiving more attentive care from their doctor.

Nursing teams also utilize hybrid care for routine activities like looking in on a patient 30 minutes after they have taken their medications to make sure they are doing well. The clinical team wanted to leverage hybrid care to pre-triage patients in the field and potentially bypass the emergency room by pre-admitting them to the hospital or other most appropriate facility. First, it is important the nursing teams understand this technology is intended to alleviate pressure by taking on some of the lower priority tasks, thus allowing the teams to use their in-person time to focus on the more critical components of delivering patient care. It is important to make sure the patients have a good understanding of the value of virtual care in their environment – in the hospital and at home – so they can trust that the technology in their rooms is to help enhance their care and their health outcomes. When it comes to health equity, our focus should be on things we can do to build trust with clinical teams and the patient communities they serve – and telehealth can be a useful tool in the toolbox to build that trust.

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