One-of-a-Kind Virtual Patient System Saves Time, Money and Exposure
A global pandemic has a way of bringing old issues into the spotlight. In the healthcare world, one such issue is patient monitoring, a task that has become even more challenging in recent months. But a unique Virtual Patient Interface System (VPIS) from Prime Communications, Inc. can solve many patient monitoring woes by providing safer, less expensive patient interaction while making care more efficient, safe and comfortable.
Since the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 has intensified concern in hospitals about contagiousness for all patients. This meant using increased amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks, gloves and gowns – at an added cost. In addition to the burden of increased cost, the doffing and donning of PPE for even the most basic tasks in patient rooms eats up valuable time. Now, PPE supplies are dwindling, which could increase risk of exposure for medical personnel, as well as patients and their families.
One of Prime’s customers asked for help to solve these problems. The VPIS was Prime’s answer. It can eliminate the need for PPE in many situations, so existing protective gear lasts longer and everyone stays safer and healthier.
The VPIS is a highly mobile, compact system equipped with an adjustable pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera and a pole-mounted video screen.
The camera allows staff – from outside the room – to visually examine patient IV connections, fluid levels, monitors and other room conditions. It can pan 360 degrees and zoom in close enough to read small print, if needed. This same type of camera has been used by security teams to monitor large parking lots, which gives an idea of its power, especially in the smaller venue of a hospital room.
The vertical-format VPIS screen provides two-way audio and visual communication between the patient and staff. The patient can see caregivers’ faces on the screen at an almost lifelike size and speak with them as if they were in the room.
Putting this wireless system on a lightweight mobile cart gives it the kind of flexibility traditional hard-wired systems don’t have — and the setup is much quicker and less expensive to deploy.
Reducing PPE Usage to Save Time and Money
As a result of heavy demand during the pandemic, PPE costs have skyrocketed — in some cases by as much as 1,000% compared to 2019. This means hospitals have had to rethink how they use the PPE they have more efficiently without negatively impacting patient and staff safety.
The VPIS allows personnel to perform simple patient care tasks with no need for staff to put on PPE and physically enter the room. Because they can check monitors and fluid levels easily using the PTZ camera and interview patients from a remote location, staff can easily monitor multiple rooms and check on groups of patients in record time.
These time savings can add up significantly, allowing medical personnel to address more important problems and get more done during their workday, potentially even reducing the need to hire more employees during the pandemic.
Increasing Safety by Reducing Physical Interaction
Of course, even with proper use of PPE, there’s still a chance patient interaction could result in medical workers contracting COVID-19 and other infectious diseases — and the more infected workers you have, the fewer there are to care for patients. One study of a SARS outbreak in Toronto in 2003 showed that over one-third of the infected were hospital staff (https://www.cmaj.ca/content/169/4/285.short).
And there’s patient risk, too, because caregiver interaction, even with PPE, could expose them to COVID-19 and other diseases. Healthcare-associated infections (HAI), as they are called, are common. The CDC reports that on a given day, an average of 1 of every 31 hospital patients is suffering from an HAI (https://www.cdc.gov/hai/data/index.html).
It’s impossible to care for a patient with no contact whatsoever, but if select simple tasks and interactions can be carried out remotely, it lessens the chance of exposure to pathogens.
With the VPIS’s camera and screen, the patient remains comfortable in bed while medical personnel provide information and ask questions from outside the room. Friends and family also can make use of the technology from the remote monitors, visiting with the patient without putting themselves or the patient at risk.
The system can even help with recruiting. Healthcare workers weary of wearing PPE and worried about exposure may seek out institutions that offer creative ways to address efficiency and safety.
Versatile and Easy to Install
Traditional hard-wired video monitoring and call systems are common in medical facilities, but installing the technology is expensive and time consuming, and the equipment is not very flexible.
In contrast, Prime can roll out a virtual patient interface system in minimal time. The devices are plug-and-play and extremely easy to use. The cart and software are shipped to your medical facility practically ready to go, and user training is conducted remotely.
The highly mobile system is adaptable enough to fit nearly any healthcare situation. It can be moved easily where needed without having to relocate a patient. If a facility wants to add more carts, it’s easy to scale up without the costly, time-consuming, disruptive (and potentially risky) construction processes required to implement traditional wall-mounted monitoring systems.
Existing Technology Put to Best Use
A major global health event, such as the recent novel coronavirus pandemic, can put pressure on healthcare personnel in alarming new ways. Solutions are needed fast – and simplicity is a must during this type of crisis to remove the obstacle of “bugs in the system” we are used to dealing with when technology is new. Prime took stock of technologies they have already deployed many, many times to find a solution for their healthcare clients, and the VPIS is the result.
Does your healthcare facility need to solve for a PPE supply problem or an infectious diseases exposure challenge? Ask us how the VPIS might apply to your situation – and how other existing technologies could be refitted for your needs. An experienced full-service integrator like Prime can provide innovative, efficient, easy-to-deploy solutions that allow your staff to get on with the business of providing the best care.
For more information on the virtual patient interface system visit: https://primesecured.com/virtual-patient-interface-system