Hospital System Pleased With Care Via Telemedicine and Other IT Tools

But some patients and the nurses union are a bit wary

CHI Franciscan Health appears to be getting good mileage with its virtual hospital, where about 200 nurses are able to monitor patients at eight hospitals via remote technology such as webcams, the News Tribune of Seattle reports. The virtual hospital “adds vigilance to inpatient stays and other hospital care. It also removes waiting time from many kinds of consultations, from urgent care to prolonged treatments.”

The “dizzying array” of activity takes place in a “bunker-like” former bank building. A Niagara of data floods into the facility via technology like webcams and pulse rate monitors. It includes medical charts that the nurses can examine and then discuss with bed-bound patients right away.  

Jessica Kennedy-Schlicher, a CHI Franciscan family-medicine doctor, tells the newspaper: “We really envision a future where patients will be able to have the care they need, just exactly when they need it.”

Not everyone is thrilled with the effort, however. The newspaper notes that some patients may be wary of getting offsite advice. In addition, the union representing nurses at the system questions whether the effort denies patients the sort of hands-on care for which there is no substitute.

It took out an ad this month that said: “If you wake up in the hospital, what would you want next to you — a caregiver or a surveillance camera?”

Source: News Tribune of Seattle