Topic: Staffing

Bill of Health: TeleSitters® Are Entering Hospital Rooms. How Will They Change Patient Care?

In many medical circumstances, clinicians and caregivers may choose to not leave a patient alone. For example, a patient may present a fall risk, experience confusion and agitation, or be at risk of self-harm. In these circumstances, they are in need of 24/7 monitoring. The TeleSitter® is a critical patient supervision tool, particularly for hospitals that are understaffed or cannot afford the number of sitters that their patient load requires. They also present clear and remarkable improvements to hospital operations: they reduce costs, improve staffing allocation, and help the hospital focus costs on improving and scaling access to care.

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One Person Safely Monitors 12 Patients Thanks to the AvaSure Telesitter® Solution

When a patient in the hospital requires 24/7 monitoring — due to a risk of falling, for example — someone must continually stay in the patient’s room to ensure the patient’s safety. The need for this type of service has been rising at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center because of the number of patients with a psychiatric condition or addiction, says Andy Magalee, director of nursing at the medical center. To address the demand, the hospital adopted remote video monitoring technology to create the TeleSitter® program.

The TeleSitter® program, part of the Office of Johns Hopkins Telemedicine, enables one clinical technician to monitor a dozen patients simultaneously. Portable camera units mounted on rolling IV-like poles provide live video and auditory feeds from the patients’ rooms to a central monitoring screen, where a clinical technician can watch all the monitored patients at once.

If the patient attempts to get out of bed, the clinical technician can communicate with the patient using a two-way speaker on the camera to ask the patient to wait for a nurse to arrive.

“During a small, six-week pilot test of the TeleSitter® program, there were no falls with injuries,” says Ronald Langlotz, director of nursing at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

To ensure a patient is a good candidate for the TeleSitter® program, a patient sitter stays in the room for the first two hours of monitoring. If the patient’s nurse finds no reason for the sitter to remain in the room — such as the patient pulling at the lines connected to him or her, for example — then the sitter leaves and the patient is monitored remotely.

Between July 2017 and June 2018, Johns Hopkins Bayview saved more than $1 million through the use of technology and clinical technicians. In addition to Johns Hopkins Bayview and The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Howard County General Hospital has also implemented the TeleSitter® program.

“The success in the program is the people behind the camera,” says Langlotz. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the clinical technicians. They really own it.”

Keeping the Suicidal Patient Safe at Beacon Health Memorial Hospital

Beacon Health Memorial Hospital Implements Successful Virtual Sitting Program:
Zero Adverse Events Found in Study of 500+ Patients. In a proactive approach, Beacon
Health Memorial Hospital assembled a dedicated multi-disciplinary team of frontline staff.
This team thoroughly assessed their existing procedures, developed new policies, and
implemented a stringent patient selection process using the Columbia Suicide Severity
Risk Scale (C-SSRS) for eligibility criteria. Conducting their study across two hospitals
and involving over 500 patients, their implementation of the TeleSitter solution yielded
impressive results: zero adverse events reported.