Doctors at Stanford Health Care have devised a way to use technology to try to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in its facilities and conserve personal protective equipment.
The hospital has placed an iPad in every room in its emergency department so that healthcare workers can use Zoom, a video conferencing app, to check in on patients without actually entering the room.
The success of the program so far has influenced how the hospital sees the role of telemedicine in its facilities
“I think this will definitely change how we will proceed after the pandemic,” Patrice Callagy, director of Stanford’s emergency services, told Business Insider.
While some people are using Zoom to meet with colleagues or hold virtual happy hours, doctors at Stanford Health Care are using the app to talk to patients who may be just a few feet away.
Every patient room in the hospital’s emergency department was recently set up with an iPad on a small portable stand with wheels. The setup can be used to connect coronavirus patients with healthcare workers nearby.
That allows hospital workers to check in regularly on patients without having to put on and take off the usual full sets of protective equipment need to enter a room with someone who has tested positive for the virus, Dr. Ryan Ribeira, who helped spearhead the program, told Business Insider.
Some doctors and nurses in the US have faced shortages of protective equipment like face masks, even as they’ve worked on the front lines to help fight the virus.
Patrice Callagy, director of Stanford’s emergency services, told Business Insider that she estimates the hospital is saving a lot of personal protective equipment (PPE) and that healthcare workers are checking in on patients about three times an hour through Zoom, compared to once an hour before when they had to put on and take off all the PPE.
“In a world without telemedicine, we would require three times the amount of PPE,” Ribeira said. “And that’s probably a conservative estimate.”
Stanford Health Care
The hospital started talking about the possibility of using iPads in this way around mid-March and the program has been fully in place since the end of the month.
The point, Riberia said, was to figure out how to take care of a large number of patients who needed to be isolated while also protecting staff and maintaining the hospital’s PPE resources.
The devices are set up to auto-answer calls from healthcare workers on the other line, which would solve issues for patients who are too sick to answer the call.
“We were looking at a relatively new use case, doing telemedicine with somebody who is in a room 10 feet away from you,” Ribeira said.
Callagy added that an unexpected benefit that she saw from use of the devices was how much better patients seemed to connect with healthcare workers once they could see their faces without goggles and masks.
“When we’re in the rooms, these patients of course are scared,” Callagy said. “We’re all in garb. They can’t see our facial expressions, which we often use to calm our patients down. Using the iPad without the garb on, the patient was able to connect with their healthcare team much, much better.”
Stanford Health Care
The iPads in the workstations for healthcare workers have a QR code that doctors and nurses can scan with their phones in order to see a one-minute tutorial on how to use the iPads to connect with the patients.
“We’re in an era where we’re conceiving of things and deploying them in a week,” Ribeira said. “This is typically a project we would do over months and we would have multiple opportunities to train people.”
The success of the program so far has influenced how the hospital sees the role of telemedicine in its facilities.
“I think this will definitely change how we will proceed after the pandemic,” Callagy said.
Read the original article on Business Insider
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