Topic: Nurse Leadership

Breaking the Glass Ceiling in Healthcare Technology is a Slow and Steady Process

For years, women in healthcare technology—in fact, the technology field altogether—were more of an anomaly than the norm. Today, they are still in the minority when it comes to executive leadership in the field but opportunities for women in healthcare technology are increasing. A new generation of technology leaders will continue to push healthcare forward in the years ahead, bringing with them a strong technical background and a potentially different take on addressing current and future issues.

Fawn Lopez, publisher of Modern Healthcare and vice president of Crain Communications, sat down with four female leaders in healthcare technology to discuss the path they’ve taken to get to their current positions as well as the road ahead.

Read the full article to learn more.

Modern Healthcare Feature: Systemness Across the Care Continuum

Systemness can improve the patient experience, lower costs, reduce risk and provide insights into a range of care and management issues. But aligning services and practices across a wide range of facilities, employees and care can be a challenge. There’s no questioning the priority that systemness holds for today’s hospitals and health systems—especially in this era of COVID-19. But what are the perceived benefits and obstacles? And what is needed to continue to move the process forward successfully?

Fawn Lopez, publisher of Modern Healthcare and vice president of Crain Communications, sat down with leaders in healthcare to discuss systemness and the paths they’ve taken in their current positions, as well as the road ahead.

Read the full article to learn more.

AvaSure Virtual Symposium Recap – Day 2, September 24

On September 24, AvaSure held the second day of its virtual National Symposium. Health care experts from across the United States gathered again to network and learn from each other on their experiences with continuous remote safety monitoring. The symposium topics on day two were mindful of this year’s theme, Leading Through Change, and made way for caregivers to collaborate and present best practices when utilizing the telehealth platform and providing the best care for their patients.

Panel 4 – Lessons Learned Monitoring the Monitors
The first panel of the day, Lessons Learned Monitoring the Monitors, brought together the AvaSure TeleSitter program managers from Covenant Health, Ascension St. Joseph Hospital, VA North Texas Health Care System and Oregon Health & Science University. The discussion was moderated by Wendy Popma-Breen, RN, BS, BSN AvaSure Clinical Program Specialist.

The TeleSitter program managers shared insights on best practices, tips for enculturation, utilization of the technology and more. Experts provided meaningful advice as learned from hands-on experience in leading monitoring staff teams, including insight on a wide range of use cases such as with patients who have COVID-19, are suicidal or at-risk of falling. Additionally, extensive insight was provided as it pertains to the staff who are in charge of monitoring the patients, such as ensuring they are appropriately trained, collaborate in teams with helpful feedback and take ample breaks so they are in a good headspace.

We learned that not only do these hospital systems utilize AvaSure’s technology for day-to-day monitoring of patients that qualify for inpatient TeleSitters, they spend time as teams to review the ORNA data the platform provides. By reviewing the data, the networks are able to accurately make decisions when expanding the application of continuous remote safety monitoring, how its use saves the hospital systems on operational costs, output the value with specified metrics, and more.

Panel 5 – Preventing Self-Harm, Remotely
The second panel of the day was moderated by AvaSure’s Vice President of Clinical Quality & Innovation Lisbeth Votruba, MSN, RN. The topic was Preventing Self-Harm, Remotely. Participants included hospital staff from, The University of Kansas Health System, Spectrum Health and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

A Q&A discussion prompted the experts on how using the TeleSitter keeps patients with suicide ideation and other behavioral health patients safe from self-harm via the ability to remotely monitor them 24/7. All care networks that utilize continuous  remote safey monitoring to supervise patients who could harm themselves are handled on a case-by-case basis. For example, an inpatient that is a low to moderate risk of self-harm might be a great fit for a TeleSitter, while high risk patients would be better suited for a 1:1 sitter that is always present in the hospital room. AvaSure consistently works alongside its customers to train monitoring staff and management departments to appropriately prepare the caregivers to make these decisions.

Panel representatives also discussed the topic of suicide from a general perspective, reiterating the need to continue normalizing discussions surrounding behavioral health. It’s important to understand the stigmas surrounding suicide so health care organizations and their providers can continue to educate and improve the notions of silence.

The discussion wrapped with timely comments regarding the recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-issued warning and predictions on the potential increase on the horizon for behavioral health issues, considering the difficult year 2020 has been. The hospital representatives expressed they are starting to see suicidal patients increase, especially in younger adults who are autistic.

Panel 6 – Making Sure the Kids are All Right
A new panel at this year’s symposium was Making Sure the Kids are All Right, which was moderated by Stacey Overholt, MBA, BSN, RN, AvaSure Clinical Director. Panel experts included staff from Anne Arundel Hospital and Methodist Children’s Hospital San Antonio. The participants outlined the benefits and challenges of utilizing continuous remote safety monitoring for those in pediatric care.

Anne Arundel Hospital staff stated they have utilized AvaSure’s TeleSitter platform for more than 8,400 monitoring hours over the past year just in the pediatric department location, which also resulted in an operational cost savings of $200,000 in that sector alone for that time period. Not only does the hospital network see the cost reduction benefit, but they said it allows them to better care for their young patients who are struggling with behavioral health while undergoing inpatient care.

A specific topic that was discussed extensively during the session was the importance of communication between the care staff who are utilizing remote monitoring methods in a pediatric hospital room with the patient’s parent or guardian. We learned that communicating from the beginning on why the patient is being monitored, the fact that the cameras aren’t recording the room and the benefits it provides greatly increased the parent’s comfort when having their dependent in the hospital’s care.

Following the conclusion of the second day panels, AvaSure was incredibly excited to honor the 2020 AvaPrize recipients:

  • Hub & Spoke Award – WakeMed Health & Hospitals
  • Path-to-Zero Award – The Miriam Hospital
  • Safety Net Award – Riverside University Health System Medical Center
  • Superstar Monitor Staff Member – Megan Fitzsimmons, Oregon Health & Science University Hospital

Keynote – Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber
The symposium ended on an extremely honorable note. Dr. Kelly Posner presented the final keynote presentation. Dr. Posner is the Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and world-renowned expert on the risk of suicide among patients. She spoke about her work in developing the Colombia Protocol, and the importance of shining a light on suicide as a worldwide public health crisis.

The Columbia Protocol, also known as the Columbia-Suicide Severity Rating Scale (C-SSRS), supports suicide risk assessment through a series of simple, plain-language questions that anyone can ask. The answers help users identify whether someone is at risk for suicide, assess the severity and immediacy of that risk, and gauge the level of support that the person needs. In 2011, the CDC adopted the protocol’s definitions for suicidal behavior and recommended the use of the Columbia Protocol for data collection. In 2012, the Food and Drug Administration declared the Columbia Protocol the standard for measuring suicidal ideation and behavior in clinical trials. Today, the Columbia Protocol is used in clinical trials, public settings, and everyday situations, such as in schools, faith communities, hospitals, and the military, to identify who needs help – saving lives in 45 nations on six continents.

Dr. Posner expressed this protocol works because people care and want to engage. Engagement and asking the right questions can quite literally be medicine for someone who is contemplating self-harm or suicide. Suicide is a shared problem of humanity, but it’s the one preventable cause of death. Everyone across the world has in some way been affected by suicide and when you break down barriers by asking tough questions and paying attention, you save lives.

AvaSure is so appreciative of those who made our third National Symposium on Leading Through Change a success. In case you missed any of the presentations and would like to learn more, a recording of the symposium sessions will be available after the event.

We also encourage you to check out the other resources on our website and social media channels. You can find us on Twitter @AvaPrize and on our Symposium Facebook page

AvaSure Virtual Symposium Recap – Day 1, September 23

On September 23, AvaSure kicked off its third National Symposium in a virtual format as a result of COVID-19. These events bring together senior leaders, frontline staff and health policy experts to share best practices and new uses for continuous remote patient care. The symposium theme this year is Leading Through Change, which hospital systems and care networks have especially demonstrated throughout the continued challenges of the pandemic.

Brad Playford, AvaSure’s CEO, opened up the day by providing attendees with the latest news about the company and its role in the future of telehealth – which has been proven to be a critical, now more important than ever, force multiplier for healthcare providers and the patients we serve.

Keynote – Wes Moore
Following the opening remarks, attendees enjoyed an incredibly motivational discussion with first day’s keynote speaker, Wes Moore. Wes is currently the CEO of Robin Hood, one of the largest anti-poverty forces in the nation. As a bestselling author, a combat veteran, and social entrepreneur, his insight set the tone for an inspirational day.

Wes provided listeners with an abundance of experiences and examples on how to be a good leader during a time of change, resonating with the force who has been on the frontline of caring for patients who have COVID-19. Not only have health care systems and workers had to adapt to new environments and processes, they are consistently seeking innovative methods of care to keep everyone safe in today’s and future care applications.

Panel 1 – In Isolation BUT Not Alone
After the keynote presentation from Wes, our first panel of experts took the virtual stage. The panel topic, In Isolation BUT Not Alone, was moderated by Cathy Rick and included panelists from Mount Sinai Morningside, Sinai Health and Moanalua Medical.

This topic specifically covered the viewpoint from the respective hospitals and networks alike who are continuing to care for patients with COVID-19. AvaSure’s telehealth technology and remote monitoring system allows caregivers to isolate patients who have the virus, but also ensure an effective secure way to attend to them without risking potential spread and saving valuable resources like PPE.

Panelists expressed they continue to use AvaSure in COVID-19 settings as some unfortunately are experiencing increased case numbers. For example, when licensed teaching hospital Sinai Health had to prevent students from coming in for hands-on learning due to virus risks, they were still able to participate with AvaSure’s monitoring technology – similar to a live teaching simulation. A representative from Mount Sinai Morningside said their hospital used the audiovisual monitoring technology to allow infected patients to communicate with their families who were unable to visit them.

There continue to be new applications the TeleSitter can be used for, many of which have become an invaluable use during COVID-19.

Panel 2 – Preventing Disruptions
The second panel, Preventing Disruptions, was moderated by AvaSure’s Vice President of Clinical Quality & Innovation Lisbeth Votruba MSN, RN, and included participants from Elliot Health System and Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. These healthcare leaders discussed the oftentimes overlooked but incredibly important topic of keeping health care workers safe and preventing workplace violence. Special guest Adrien Bardes, Manager of Public Safety, Piedmont Athens Regional also sat in on the panel to provide his expertise.

The experts walked through examples of remote interventions and the application of AvaSure’s telehealth system in keeping staff, patients, and families safe amid the continuing epidemic of illicit substance abuse and issues in behavioral health settings.

Audiovisual monitoring allows hospital staff to continuously monitor patients who might be suicidal, are experiencing drug and alcohol withdraws, could be at-risk of following and much more. This option keeps the patient in a secure and safe environment, alongside protecting the caregivers who interact with them.

Panel 3 – Tales from the Frontline
The final panel on symposium day one was brought back by popular demand! Moderator Pat Quigley, PhD spoke with the hands-on TeleSitter users at systems including Covenant Health, Providence St. Joseph Orange and Abington Hospital Jefferson Health.

The monitor staff revealed best practices, lessons learned and views from behind the camera on time spent watching at-risk patients. If there was one theme consistently expressed throughout this discussion, it was that the day-to-day application of the unique telehealth resource has proven to be a force multiplier in health care – both for patients, staff and their families.

Aside for COVID-19, the TeleSitter allows hospital staff to better connect with their patients and provide a safe and meaningful experience.

AvaSure sends a sincere thank you to our keynote, moderators, panelists and all participants who made the first day of our virtual symposium a success. In case you missed any of the presentations and would like to learn more, a recording of the symposium sessions will be available after the event.

We encourage you to join us today, September 24 from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. EST, as we continue the meaningful presentations and discussions on Leading Through Change. We will hear from experts on best practices is utilizing AvaSure’s technology, how the TeleSitter is used to keep suicidal patients and their caregivers safe, benefits of using our applications in pediatric care units, wrapped up with a presentation from keynote Dr. Kelly Posner Gerstenhaber. AvaSure is also looking forward to honoring the 2020 AvaPrize recipients on day two. Participants can follow along and engage with us on Twitter @AvaSure or our Symposium Facebook page

Happy Nurses Week

Our salute to two RNs and those they have chosen to assist

Today is National Nurses Day, which typically kicks off a weeklong celebration, culminating with the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday. This year, the American Nurses Association extended the event into a into a month-long celebration to “expand opportunities to elevate and celebrate nursing.” Little did they know how appropriate and deserving such a move would prove to be.

Two of our own – AvaSure Board Member Cathy Rick and Clinical Program Specialist Sarah Quiring – have rejoined the ranks of nurses after years away from direct patient care to do whatever is needed.

AvaTalk caught up with them to talk about how their mission to contribute is going.

AvaTalk: When did you decide to actually return to active duty nursing and what was it about the pandemic that drove you to do this?

Rick: I had no plans to go back to work after retiring as CNO of the Veterans Health Administration in 2014. I have enjoyed being engaged in mentoring roles and periodic consulting work for healthcare organizations in addition to my commitment as an AvaSure board member. But then came COVID-19. I know full well how challenging it is to deal with day-to-day operations across a large system like the VHA while, at the same time, fulfilling the needs during a national crisis. So in early April I reached out to longtime colleagues at the VA just to say that I was thinking of them. I offered my support in any way that they thought appropriate, and lo and behold, they immediately took me up on it.

Quiring: Early on in my career as a nurse, I was given a thank-you card by a patient that in paraphrase said: “You were called to this place, at this time, for a purpose.” I have often reflected on that sentiment. By going back to the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic, I have joined multitudes of others who were willing to show up with their skills when they were needed, whether that was suddenly home schooling their children, providing janitorial services or making masks.

AvaTalk: What is your assignment?

Rick: I was asked what I’d like to do, and said I’ll do whatever you want. I started my virtual assignment to assist with national nurse staffing strategies on April 9th.

Quiring: I am currently working as a staff RN, in an eICU, providing coaching to regional nurses who may have limited critical care experience.

AvaTalk: So what is the nature of the work and how much time is involved?

Rick: I am assigned to support an Office of Nursing Services Workgroup to offer my expertise as a former VHA senior executive. This workgroup has been charged to develop innovative options for meeting staffing needs during surge capacity requirements in this (and future) national emergencies. It’s been a daily whirlwind, working 8-11 hours a day, seven days per week, including Easter Sunday, quite an adjustment from retirement!

Quiring: I currently work full time on the weekdays as a Clinical Program Specialist for AvaSure and work between one and two 12-hour shifts on the weekend in the eICU. I am very fortunate that AvaSure and my local hospital have been both flexible and supportive with this unique arrangement.

AvaTalk: How long do plan on contributing?

Rick: As long as I’m needed. Although the work hours are intense at this time, I would anticipate that will change to a slower pace as newly designed innovative approaches become standard operating procedures.

Quiring: I plan on contributing through the projected census surge time until the hospital resumes serving at typical capacity.

AvaTalk: How does it feel to contribute again on the frontlines?

Rick: It is an honor and a privilege. I am reminded again and again of how nurses are the backbone of global healthcare. It is a very special feeling to be a VA nurse again. My colleagues there are talented, dedicated, forward-thinking federal employees, and the VHA nursing workforce is among the best of that workforce.

Quiring: As a bedside nurse, you have the unique and humbling position to walk alongside people during some of the most difficult times of their lives. This pandemic has taught us that we are all connected, perhaps more than many of us realized. I have the rare opportunity to directly help patients in dire need while also working for AvaSure, whose business is making the jobs of the same frontline staff easier and more productive.

AvaSure Expands National Reach, Service Footprint with Installation in 48th State

Hospital systems in nearly 90% of the top metropolitan areas use AvaSure enterprise-class audiovisual monitoring platform to protect patients and staff

Michigan-based AvaSure, a leading provider of advanced audiovisual monitoring systems used to care for patients and protect caregivers, has expanded its service footprint with its latest installation in a Hawaii hospital system.

The newest installation means AvaSure’s unique telehealth technology is now used in 96% of U.S. states and two provinces in Canada. The company’s systems are represented in 88% of the nation’s top 50 metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), 71% of the top 100 MSAs, and 58% of all MSAs, as of April 2020.

Read the full news release to learn more.

AvaSure Symposium Recap -Thursday 2018

We enjoyed another beautiful day here in Grand Rapids, Michigan and kicked off the 2nd Annual AvaSure Symposium with an amazing talk by John Quiñones followed by the start of our many hot topic breakout sessions.

Discussions throughout the day centered around innovation to patient safety, cutting costs,  the Impact of Video Monitoring, suicidal discussion panel, and a monitor staff panel. Each discussion was packed full of new information, informative questions, and a wealth of new knowledge and connections.

Throughout the day, artist Eric Picardo from Experience Live Art combined the feelings of community, networking, and growth, to complete 2 of his original paintings. Day 3 will consist of an interactive piece that all AvaSure Symposium attendees can participate in completing.

We ended on a special note with Ingrid Cheslek, MPA, RN, who discussed employee engagement and retention in a field known for high turnover and burnout.

After hours, we enjoyed a wonderful evening walk of ArtPrize through downtown Grand Rapids and are excited to kickoff our final Symposium day with Lee Woodruff.

AvaSure Symposium Recap – Wednesday Night 2018

On October 3, 2018 we kicked off the 2nd annual AvaSure Symposium in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our day started with some very insightful focus groups and deep discussions at our round table sessions. We also held our first ever Advanced Monitor Tech Training where attendees spent 3 hours in training learning how to enhance their skills and ensure patient and staff safety across a variety of situations that could potentially arise. Our trainees left with a certificate of their completion of the course, new knowledge, and a growing network of peers.

The big event of the day though was our opening reception held at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. We celebrated our 10 year anniversary with a splendid array of food, beautiful and historical exhibits, carousel rides, and live art with Eric Picardo, we had a wonderful time networking and welcoming everyone to the city.

We kicked off the night by recognizing our customers hard work and how their organizations are advancing patient and staff safety.

Congratulations to our 2018 AvaPrize winners!

Hub & Spoke:  University of Maryland Medical Center

Path to Zero: Cincinnati VA Medical Center

Video Monitoring Staff Superstar: Laura Torres, UC San Diego Health

The Safety Net Award:  Providence St. Peter

We are excited to continue the fun on Thursday with Keynote speaker John Quiñones & Ingrid Cheslek. Stay up to date on the latest happenings by following us on Twitter over these next few days.

Discover a New Standard of Care at the AvaSure Symposium

As a nurse leader, including 14 years as chief nursing officer of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and its 80,000 nursing staff members, and as someone who cares deeply about improving patient care, I am very much looking forward to this year’s event. Even though I have been an AvaSure board member for several years, I was amazed by last year’s inaugural symposium. The turnout, the enthusiasm of AvaSys users, the intense interest from those who were thinking about adopting this solution, the quality of the keynote speakers, and the depth and breadth of the breakout sessions were extremely impressive. I don’t often say this about conferences, but it was exciting. I take great pride in my VA tenure as the chief nursing officer of the largest integrated healthcare system in America. I am equally proud to be a small part of the AvaSure team.

Equally striking was how much of the talk at last year’s Symposium was NOT about patient falls and sitter costs. Of course, those are usually topics 1 and 1A when people are first looking into remote patient monitoring, but most organizations that have implemented AvaSys quickly see its potential across a wider range of uses. Suicide ideation, neonatal care, emergency department care, elopement, illegal drug use, traumatic brain injury, staff safety – well, the list goes on and on.

This year we’ll hear current innovations on some of the same themes, but I sense the emphasis is expanding. User-driven changes in the software are making this a data-driven enterprise. The ability to record patient safety events in real time is informing changes in protocols. The clinical evidence for monitoring a broader spectrum of patient populations is becoming clearer. And, for the first time in patient care, we will have a record of near-misses – adverse events that didn’t happen because of the constant vigilance of video monitoring. (For more on that see my fellow board member Pat Quigley’s post).

The official theme of this year’s symposium is celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the AvaSys technology. To me, the real theme is that remote monitoring is fast becoming a standard of care, much as telemetry is in cardiac care. Soon, I believe, the question won’t be, “Do you have video monitoring in your hospital?” Instead, it will be: “What is your comparative analysis with other institutions in how you are keeping patients and staff safe through telemonitoring?”

At this year’s symposium you will also be introduced to the new software that is improving “hub and spoke” systems – centralized monitoring stations for observation of patients in many hospitals or even multiple states. Imagine the cost savings of having one operations center for hospitals in multiple states, a center that might also include other forms of patient monitoring.

Just looking at the breakout sessions for this year’s event, I can see how AvaSys is already transforming the ED, often the source of patient self-harm, elopement, and attacks on staff.

And once again, I am so impressed by the nationally known keynote speakers who have agreed to present at the AvaSure Symposium. They will provide insights into national health policy and make the emotional case for making sure patients are safe and secure in hospital care.

So, unless you have something else you simply can’t miss in early October, come to Grand Rapids, MI, and join me and hundreds of your peers in learning more about the newest standard of care.
Cathy Rick, former chief nursing officer of the U.S. Department of  Veterans Affairs (2000-2014), is a healthcare consultant and a faculty member for the Executive Fellowship in Innovation Health Leadership program at Arizona State University.