Changing the Point of Care
The Caregility iObserver application enables healthcare organizations to facilitate virtual sitting to help keep high-risk patients safe while reducing the costs associated with in-person bedside patient monitoring. The virtual observation system serves as the first line of defense for at-risk patients, alerting staff to quickly intervene when patient threat is detected. Virtual observation technology is extremely flexible and can be adapted to various physiological use cases, depending on an organization’s needs. Common applications include fall prevention, rapid response assessment, overflow monitoring, NICU observation, telestroke management, and patient transfer assessment. The iObserver virtual observation system benefits care teams by freeing up patient care technicians, certified nurse assistants, and medical assistants who might otherwise be assigned as a physical sitter in the patient’s room. For example, assessing the 4 Ps of Fall Prevention (Placement, Pain, Position, Potty) can be done remotely, increasing efficiency and freeing up bedside staff to perform other tasks. Fall prevention is just one of the uses for virtual observation technology which provides significant benefits to patients and facilities alike. American Nurse Today estimates that more than 84 percent of adverse events in hospital patients are related to falls, which can prolong and complicate recovery. iObserver benefits patients by reducing risk to self as well as risk to and from others.
Caregility’s iObserver application provides continuous 24/7 virtual observation for up to 12 patients displayed on a single screen. With a continuous live video and audio connection via a cart or wall-mounted camera in each patient room, patient monitors can identify potential issues, alert care teams, and intervene quickly when patient risk is detected. Remote clinicians and care teams can assess patients on rounds, when considering transfers or discharges, and whenever there are concerns. Families, interpreters, and specialists can be easily looped in as well. If a patient is determined to be a fall risk, a virtual observation unit can be placed in their room. Units typically consist of a video camera and two-way audio that transmits to a central monitoring station. The camera can pan, tilt, and zoom to keep the best view of patients. The system is most often a portable, wireless, small form factor cart that can easily move virtual observation to every room. Units can also be a wired or permanent fixture installed in the wall or ceiling of the patient’s room. Each monitoring station is staffed by a trained observer who typically watches no more than 10-12 patients at a time. Patients can be observed continuously, using night vision technology when lighting is dim. If a patient who is a fall risk attempts to leave their bed, the observer can address the patient over the speaker, advising them to stay in bed while the observer alerts hospital staff to assist the patient.
Unlike other telehealth solutions, the Caregility iObserver application is designed specifically to support acute patient care delivery. The cloud-based nature of the platform helps providers keep implementation, support, and upgrade costs to a minimum while enabling quick adoption and session capacity expansion. The platform is easy to embed, utilize, and manage, all while ensuring high availability. It was also designed to overcome interoperability challenges commonly associated with disparate telemedicine platforms. The platform integrates with multiple EHRs, including Epic, as well as a broad spectrum of clinical applications via a simple API set. This supports centralized virtual care operations, keeping the interface and experience for both the clinician and the patient consistent across all telehealth programs. Caregility leverages WebRTC and standards-based video protocols such as SIP and H.323, which also differentiate the organization. The platform features top-level encryption and security protocols and manages call sessions uniquely. Every clinician call generates a new, single-use virtual meeting room in the cloud that is valid only for the duration of that call. When the call ends, it is impossible to return to that call session.
Essential around-the-clock observation of high-risk patients represents a major expenditure for providers. Costs associated with in-person bedside patient sitting are rarely reimbursed and often unbudgeted. Since payers don’t cover the costs of continuous observation, these investments can top $1.3 million per facility per year, the International Association for Healthcare Safety and Security Foundation reports. This can have a significant negative impact on a hospital’s bottom line and direct care resources. Continuous observation requires staff. A rapidly aging population, chronic critical care worker shortage, and growing pressure to make better use of healthcare labor forces require organizations to find more efficient ways to deliver these services. One Caregility customer, after deploying the iObserver application, reported that in eight months of use their unbudgeted sitter hours dropped by 75% with no falls or adverse events. A single trained staff member was able to observe several high-risk patients safely and remotely on a single monitor via a live connection in each patient room. By reducing staff requirements from one person per patient to one person observing as many as a dozen or more patients, iObserver enabled the healthcare organization to whittle down the costs of continuous observation. The remote alternative allowed the staff member to monitor several patients and identify potential issues quickly, freeing nurses and other clinicians to focus on other responsibilities, with the assurance that their high-risk patients are being carefully watched.
The Caregility iObserver application enables healthcare organizations to do more with less through the use of dedicated virtual patient observation tools that help mitigate patient risk without overburdening limited staff resources. iObserver drives clinical efficiency and reduces patient threat, resulting in improved outcomes and lower costs for patients and providers.