On October 6, AvaSure kicked off its fourth annual AvaSure Symposium, for a second time in a virtual format as a result of COVID-19. However, through the virtual platform, even more senior leaders, frontline staff and health policy experts were able to come together to learn best practices and new uses for continuous remote patient care. This year’s theme is all about connection and the growing role of telehealth that will continue well after the pandemic.
AvaSure CEO Brad Playford opened the program by reiterating the organization’s commitment to creating solutions that solve a range of patient and worker safety issues, while being a “workforce multiplier” by extending the reach of clinicians digitally across a health system.
Keynote – Dr. Megan Ranney
Attendees then heard from Megan Ranney, MD, an emergency physician and Brown University public health expert, who shared how healthcare systems are using digital telehealth solutions to improve health and reduce disparities.
She said that while time-sensitive conditions are a large part of what brings patients to emergency rooms, they are simply a symptom of a larger set of problems. Based on her experience, emergency departments and hospitals are being increasingly filled by patients with behavioral health problems, opioid use disorder, depression and suicidal ideation. Through technology, including AvaSure’s suite of products and services, healthcare workers can lessen the digital divide and help patients wherever they are, she said.
Lunch time knowledge bites
After the keynote presentation, attendees had the choice of three Lunch Time Knowledge Bites sessions:
For many, Best Practices for Implementation was an opportunity to improve their processes or, for new customers, create them. Host Michele Coulter, MS, BSN, RN, a Clinical Implementation Specialist at AvaSure, reiterated that one of the most important roles within the AvaSure TeleSitter® patient monitoring program is the monitor staff. Since the monitor staff is the first line of defense in keeping patients safe, it is imperative to build up a dedicated team.
Panel 1 – Change agents: Managing innovation to achieve results
After lunch, attendees attended the Change Agents: Managing Innovation to Achieve Results panel, presented by Ochsner Health, Oregon Health & Science University and Ascension. The panel featured healthcare leaders who have succeeded with large-scale implementation of TeleSitter® solutions.
Experts encouraged attendees that were interested in implementing AvaSure products and services to ensure that stakeholders at all levels were included at the table, from the CNO or nurse leader to the bedside staff who will be a part of the program.
Panelists also praised AvaSure’s team for its dedication to customers. Striving for effectiveness and efficiency, these healthcare systems were able to work directly with AvaSure to develop a playbook that took all aspects of the program into consideration. AvaSure’s team travels on-site to meet with the teams face-to-face and work through process improvements.
The afternoon breakout sessions included:
As nursing staff shortages prevail amid an aging patient population, the Hub & Spoke monitoring model has gained momentum among AvaSure’s customer base for its efficiency and effectiveness in centralizing and standardizing virtual care. For one provider, it has even made hiring easier in a pandemic, when many jobs remain unfilled. Joanne Meucci, MSN, RN, Regional Nurse Manager at Trinity Health of New England, shared that her team has been recruiting from the pool of middle-aged, semi-retired individuals in need of benefits, creating an entirely new workforce. Also on the panel was Loyola University Medical Center in Chicago.
Tips & tricks from monitor staff pros
The final panel for day one of the AvaSure Symposium was the ever-popular Tips & Tricks from Monitor Staff Pros, featuring experts from HCA Methodist, Oregon Health & Science University and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. AvaSure gathered some of the most successful monitor staff from across the country to share best practices that enhance patient and staff safety, as well as the patient-family experience of care.
Despite using telehealth to communicate, monitor staff still recommend fostering face to face contact with patients, which can help them realize that you are there to help, not to invade their privacy. Healthcare systems should also remind monitor staff that what they are doing is helping to save lives and best equip nursing staff on the floor. With a robust trained monitor staff, nurses can be alerted, respond and tend to patients within seconds.