Keynote – John O’Leary
John O’Leary, author and activist, kicked off the day with a moving and motivational talk about thriving in the face of adversity. After 20 months of COVID-19, O’Leary encouraged attendees that the best of the journey to better healthcare is to come.
Throughout his keynote, O’Leary prompted attendees to remind their colleagues at all levels that their work matters. At an early age, O’Leary was burned on 100% of his body in an accident, and he spent much of his childhood in the hospital. Throughout his time there, his doctors empowered everyone from custodians to nurses to be a part of his journey.
Today, O’Leary is grateful for the opportunity to speak to the public at events like the AvaSure Symposium. He thanked the hardworking frontline workers, administrators and staff for all that they do, and reminded everyone that gratitude can create the largest impact, reduce stress and help find joy.
Lunch Time Knowledge Bites
After the keynote presentation, attendees had the choice of two Lunch Time Knowledge Bites sessions:
This wide range of topics was perfect for any organization that wants to take a deep dive into their AvaSure TeleSitter® solution and equip staff with what they need to thrive.
Common Challenges & Misconceptions provided both new and existing AvaSure users with insights into how to optimize among both monitor staff and program leaders. Presenter Wendy Popma-Breen, BSN, BS, RN, Clinical Implementation Services Manager at AvaSure, said that transparency and the sharing of information needs to be a key consideration for hospitals and healthcare systems. In many situations, monitor staff are not aware of the conditions or history of the patients they are monitoring. In order to keep patients safe, monitor staff need to be equipped with as much information as possible. Processes can help alleviate this strain, as well as robust onboarding and continuous learning for all staff.
Panel 1 – Keeping Suicidal Patients Safe, Virtually
After lunch, attendees attended the Keeping Suicidal Patients Safe, Virtually, presented by UC Davis and Benefis Health. Amid the ongoing mental health crisis, healthcare systems are seeing an influx of patients who are struggling with suicidal ideation, especially among adolescents.
Both teams worked closely with AvaSure to implement TeleSitter solutions that can monitor patients and mitigate risk. One of the biggest benefits of the program is the ability for monitor staff to observe patients 24/7, whereas nurses may not see signs of escalation unless they are in the room. In some case uses, the one-on-one option for the TeleSitter provided an opportunity to form a connection with patients who are in crisis, helping them on the road to recovery.
With no end to the crisis in sight, AvaSure continues its commitment to providing tools and resources to help healthcare systems best serve their patients.
The afternoon breakout sessions included:
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, staffing shortages and a deep freeze that wreaked havoc on much of Texas, Memorial Hermann Health System and its implementation of the TeleSitter program are a case study that all telehealth professionals need to hear.
In July 2020, Memorial Hermann went from initial contact with AvaSure to fully operational coverage of COVID-19 patients in 15 days. Today, Memorial Hermann has over 100 cameras across 12 care facilities in the Houston metro area. The program even allows monitor staff to work from home, when necessary. Their IT team put together workstation kits that included everything an employee would need to work from home alongside their on-site colleagues. When much of the area was hit by an ice storm earlier this year, Memorial Hermann was able to scale its program to continue to provide patients with the safety and monitoring that they needed.
The Memorial Hermann team shared many of the lessons that they learned along the way. For them, staff buy-in was essential, and they made sure that nurses knew that the program was not a critique of their work, but instead, a resource designed to support them. Additional key takeaways included the value of communication, identifying areas of concern, creating an escalation process and developing a pipeline for staffing support.
Panel 2 – Case Closed: Remote Video Monitoring Increases Staff Safety
The final panel of the AvaSure Symposium covered workplace violence. Christina Case, MSN, RN-BC, Clinical Nurse Manager at Providence St. Peter Hospital, presented alongside Lisbeth Votruba, MSN, RN, Chief Clinical Innovation Officer at AvaSure. The duo shared peer-reviewed research, ORNA data and anecdotal evidence on workplace violence and how AvaSure solutions can help prevent it. In fact, ORNA data shows that 17,077 abusive events were prevented at 195 hospitals from July 2017 to July 2021.
Once the TeleSitter was implemented at Providence St. Peter, Case and her team found success in the creation of an educational toolkit. These toolkits improved her staff’s feeling of the program, increased reporting and encouraged engagement. When asked if staff safety was more important than patient safety, Votruba and Case shared that while patient safety is extremely important, it cannot come at the cost of staff safety.
AvaSure sends a sincere thank you to all keynote speakers, moderators, panelists and participants who made the fourth annual AvaSure Symposium a success. Registered attendees will receive a link to the recordings for keynotes, panels and sessions next week.