5 Reasons Hospitals Should Adopt A Virtual Patient Observation Solution in 2024


Reducing falls and adverse events, improving patient safety program performance, and lowering costs are common benefits of implementing a virtual patient observation solution. Adding Collette Health to your patient safety program this year can unburden your patient safety care teams, significantly improve patient safety outcomes, and increase patient and staff satisfaction.

  1. Patient Safety is the Cornerstone of Quality Patient Care: Virtual Patient Observation Improves Patient Safety

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) identifies patient safety as “indistinguishable from the delivery of quality health care.” Patient safety is primarily measured by the absence of harm—for example, low rates of injury and mortality. When it comes to preventing adverse outcomes for patients, nurses are the frontline and often bear the responsibility for providing safety. (Source: NCBI)

Patient safety is a constant goal, made more challenging than ever due to increased staffing shortages. Fortunately, emerging healthcare technologies can help to support nursing staff by assisting in patient safety monitoring. Collette Health’s virtual observation solution leverages its technology to enable live observers to monitor and identify potential adverse events for at-risk patients. The Collette Health continuous virtual observation platform provides proactive motion detection to direct the virtual patient observer’s (VPO) attention to any possible unsafe behavior or situation. With immediate and persistent two-way audio and video, the VPO may verbally engage the patient while simultaneously alerting the attending medical staff with a simple button. (Source: Collette Health Features). One Collette Health VPO can monitor up to 12 patients at once, allowing for increased patient safety with less strain on staff resources.

A high-performing patient safety program provides proactive prevention and efficiency, improving quality outcomes. Patients are continuously supervised with a virtual patient observation solution in each room. VPOs provide constant surveillance to multiple locations simultaneously and can preside over a patient whenever necessary until their onsite clinician arrives.

  1. One-to-One Patient Observation is Difficult to Maintain

Historically, high-risk patients were assigned an observer, caregiver, or nurse to provide in-person supervision to prevent falls, fall-related injuries, and adverse events. However, this one-to-one ratio of the clinician to the patient is difficult and expensive to maintain. (Source: HealthTech Magazine)

Staffing shortages have forced hospitals nationwide to appoint overqualified staff for 1:1 observation, diverting attention away from other clinical tasks and lowering the quality of care for other patients while overburdening nursing staff.

In extreme cases, hospitals are unable to fulfill MD orders for a 1:1 observer for vulnerable patients, putting them at significant risk for injury. This is becoming more common as the nation continues to see a rise in nursing staff shortages. (Source: USAHS)

Investments in continuous virtual observation technology solutions are proving to reduce adverse patient events, thus leading to significant financial savings and, more importantly, better patient outcomes. Not only does virtual patient observation better utilize staff and resources, but it also allows healthcare organizations to provide better care in the long run.

  1. VPOs Provide Support for Nurses and Other Medical Staff

Studies show that short staffing-imposed increased workload is one of the primary causes of nurse turnover. The cost of such turnover adds to hospitals’ financial pressures in an age of diminishing margins. (Source: Forbes) When providers relocate clinicians and support staff to ensure round-the-clock observation for higher-risk patients, the costs associated are significant, and employee satisfaction sharply declines. Outsourcing observation can unburden nursing staff and result in better care for all patients.

Hospitals can quickly minimize staffing and resource concerns by utilizing a virtual observation solution with a 1:12 observer-to-patient ratio to allow for greater focus on clinical care. VPOs can directly impact the patient experience with the benefits of 1:1 care and positively affect nurse satisfaction—which is directly linked to positive patient outcomes. (Source: Becker’s Hospital Review)

  1. Virtual Observation Can Boost Patent Experience and Engagement

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality defines patient experience as the range of interactions that patients have with the healthcare system, including their care from health plans, doctors, nurses, and staff in hospitals, as well as in other healthcare facilities. Communication between staff and patients is a crucial component of the patient experience in a hospital. (Source: Health Leaders Media)

Deploying an inpatient virtual observation solution with a built-in video conferencing component allows patients to communicate with their observers as much as needed. Patients often only see staff periodically. However, continued face-to-face presence and communication capabilities can provide comfort during times that can be isolating or even distressing for some individuals. If a patient attempts to vacate their bed or experiences distress, the VPO can use the technology’s two-way audio to converse with the patient, provide comfort, and ask them to wait for their nurse to arrive.

  1. Bonus: VPOs Help to Enhance the Patient Family Experience

VPOs provide excellent support for patients and families alike, allowing necessary relief for family members and loved ones during breaks from their visits. Individuals in a patient’s support system can confidently leave their loved one with peace of mind, knowing a compassionate caregiver is continuously present. VPOs are always on hand to answer questions or provide information upon the family’s return. When family members and loved ones are more relaxed and content, their healthcare experience is more positive.

How Can Collette Health as a Virtual Patient Observation Solution be Leveraged in Your Hospital?

As an extension of patient safety programs, Collette Health’s continuous virtual patient observation solutions currently prevent falls and adverse events across multiple departments in 150 hospitals and 12 of the largest health systems in the US. In 2023, we prevented 83k+ falls with an average reduction in fall rates of 68 percent.

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