Technology addresses staff shortages, hybrid care potential

As healthcare organizations aim to offer more sites for advanced care and manage shrinking staffs, platforms like Caregility show new possibilities.

Virtual care platforms enable outreach into different care settings, such as the home, while helping extend clinicians' reach.

Healthcare organizations are dealing with conflicting demands that are difficult to resolve – chief among them declining numbers of frontline clinicians and a lack of financial capability to hire replacements.

This is just one of many ways virtual care solutions can be applied – they can extend the reach and coverage of clinicians both within the walls of a hospital, as well as in offsite settings.

Increasingly, healthcare organizations are looking for ways to solve a variety of problems with virtual approaches, and they’re looking to platforms that can take technology and apply it to multiple situations. It’s a classic case of moving to a platform that can support multiple virtual capabilities, rather than a host of one-of solutions, which can be individually difficult to install and support.

For example, at a recent CNIO conference, 75 percent of executives there said their organizations were looking for a virtual care platform that be leveraged across multiple programs, says Mike Brandofino, president and chief operating officer of Caregility.

KLAS Research named Caregility’s telehealth capabilities as a Best in KLAS performer in its annual recognition of health technology solution providers. The company says its virtual care platform enables a variety of technologies to be layered to improve patient engagement, observation, and monitoring.

CNIOs want 'platform solutions' empowering caregivers and patients to leverage care solutions across the provider organization and throughout a provider's community.

Filling key gaps

Overall, healthcare organizations are realizing that they have multiple gaps to fill – both with new extensions of care provision, as well as finding ways to extend personnel to handle them. These needs became evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in a rush to innovate individual solutions.

Now, healthcare organizations are trying to rationalize those choices and slim down their technology stacks, thus reducing long-term costs, Brandofino contends.

“The biggest thing that we’re seeing is this recognition that there needs to be a platform across multiple platforms; they see that ‘spot’ solutions aren’t really that good for them in the long haul,” he explains. “They may be cheaper initially … but it’s really not going to be a long-term strategy for them.”

Caregility technology on its platform enables caregivers to observe patients virtually, enabling nurses to “see” more patients from a central observation point, without physically having to go into each patient room. It also can enable virtual consults, as well as other monitoring or visitation capabilities in a variety of care settings.

Such assistive technologies can flip the field for nurses, who in the past have seen requirements to use technology as getting in the way of care.

“We want to improve patient outcomes, but in order to improve patient outcomes, you have to have enough caregivers that want to (stay at the) job,” Brandofino says. “I think those CNOs and CNIOs need to figure out how to leverage technology to improve the lives of nurses within the inpatient care environment … so they don’t feel like they’re overwhelmed all the time.”

Also, nurses need to come to believe that “technology is not a threat. We really need to work on that whole experience of the caregivers, and make sure they understand why the technology can help them, and that it’s not just something that’s been put in to save costs.”

Technology sits between the provider and the patient; cannot be perceived as 'in the way.'

The hybrid care challenge

The pandemic forced healthcare organizations to accommodate patients in different care settings, because of concerns about both capacity and patient safety. That opened up possibilities such as hospital at home, where acute care can be delivered and managed in settings outside a traditional facility.

If Caregility technology can reach into every hospital room and ICU setting, it can enable care in non-traditional settings, Brandofino suggests. “Now you can do hybrid care in the truest sense. You don’t want to do away with the people at the bedside … but is there enough skilled nurses to be at the bedside, or doctors, for that matter? How do you augment that?”

Virtual care platforms also can extend nurses’ resources by pulling in those who can give them assistance or consults, he contends. “If a nurse is doing a procedure that she has never done before, can she quickly (patch in) a nurse who retired because she has back problems who can’t be on the floor. But she’s got 20 years of knowledge, and can you bring her in to augment that less-skilled nurse.”

Also, remote nurses may be able to save time for floor nurses by taking on some tasks virtually. “Whether that’s transcription services, video analysis, combining all of those metrics going on in the room together, and giving that remote person as much information as possible .. we can create that hybrid care environment that really improves outcomes.

“So that’s the vision, really combining the ability to have patients seen at any time that you want, with other technologies that can layer on to augment the hybrid care environment,” he concludes.

Technology enables more efficient use of resources.

In-hospital virtual care success at Intermountain shared during the HDM KLASroom

Amy Rosa, System VP & CNIO at Intermountain Health on how moments matter


Patient adoption for virtual care technologies


Virtual care success - extending the future reach of care teams within the hospital


See Beyond the Rankings, insights into Caregility and other high-achieving service & technology partners.

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