Virtual hospital: scope, benefits, examples


Editor’s note: Alena explains why it is worth investing in a virtual hospital by showing the benefits it can bring to healthcare organizations and patients. And if you are interested in implementing a solution or set of solutions to provide virtual observation and patient care, we invite you to consider our offer custom software development.

According to the American Hospital Association, in 2019, approximately 75% of American hospitals connected to patients and consultants remotely. A year later, Forrester planned that virtual care visits would increase to more than a billion by the end of 2020, including 900 million COVID-19-related visits. Today, we see that the demand for virtual hospitals that care for patients from anywhere is growing not only because of the epidemiological situation but also as a reaction to the aging population of the world population and the to increase in the number of chronic diseases.

A virtual hospital allows continuous remote patient care with IoT support, telemedicine, digital therapy, and care navigation technologies. Key capabilities of the virtual hospital include:

Provider-to-patient collaboration

  • Videoconference between a doctor / nurse and a patient.
  • Quick consultations for patients with a doctor / nurse through a chat or a call.
  • Share photos of visual illness symptoms (e.g., a photo of a rash) for review and diagnosis.
  • Remote patient monitoring (e.g., medication intake and diet control).

Supplier-to-supplier collaboration

  • Videoconference to exchange clinical opinions or for training purposes.
  • Transfer of patient data in case of transferring a patient from one medical department to another.

Reduced care costs

With the increase in hospital admissions due to COVID-19, hospital assets, from beds to examination gloves, are in high demand, with some assets often in short supply. A virtual hospital allows patients who do not need urgent hospitalization to stay home, thus saving the assets needed for examination and treatment. And remote triage, for example, using a video call with a primary care physician, expanding access to health care while reducing costly emergency room visits.

Improving the efficiency of the hospital workflow

The implementation of a virtual hospital is especially indicated for allergies, physiotherapy, mental health and chronic disease divisions, as they generally do not require urgent medical attention. A virtual hospital can help distribute the workload of doctors and nurses to reduce patient waiting times and allow them to monitor more patients at the same time.

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There are currently two types of virtual hospitals: those designed to treat patients around the world and those that function as educational centers for students and doctors to improve qualification.

Mercy Virtual Attention Center

Described as the world’s first telehealth facility, the Virtual Care Center offers virtual care services to patients in various U.S. states. The center offers 4 basic telehealth programs:

  • vICU: Doctors and nurses remotely monitor patients ’vital signs using highly sensitive two-way cameras, IoT, and healthcare navigation technologies.
  • vStroke: Patients attending any emergency department with stroke symptoms can receive an immediate virtual evaluation from the center’s neurologist using a two-way camera and the patient’s electronic medical record.
  • vHospitalists: to support real-time assessment, testing and therapy orders, revenue management and transfers.
  • vEngagement: Using biometric monitoring and interactive technologies, the center team proactively monitors and involves chronic patients (after providing them with a tablet, a blood pressure monitor, a heart rate monitor, and a weight scale).

Joint Virtual Attention Center

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the emergency department of Australia’s Armidale Hospital to open a virtual emergency room for those infected with coronavirus. Patients receive a tablet (or install a mobile app on their smartphones) and appropriate devices that suit their condition (pulse oximeter, blood pressure, etc.) and regularly attend scheduled electronic visits. .

Valdecilla Virtual Hospital

It is a health simulation center located in Spain. Simulators include mannequins, actors, part-time trainers, and virtual patient models to enable health professionals and students to train safely.

Virtual Laboratory of Cardiology

Medical students become virtual interns under the supervision of doctors. Virtual training includes, for example, examining a patient with heart disease using different diagnostic devices.

Explore the capabilities of virtual hospital technicians for your organization!

More and more healthcare organizations are adopting virtual hospital technologies to enable remote care, increase the safety of their patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, and reduce care costs. With many patients trying to avoid face-to-face hospital visits today, investing in virtual hospital software can offer healthcare organizations a competitive advantage over their competitors. If you are thinking of transforming your healthcare organization into a virtual hospital, you can get in touch ScienceSoft healthcare IT team for an initial consultation.

Are you looking for a solution to your healthcare IT challenge? Our experienced healthcare consultants are here to help.

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