Avera Health plans to expand virtual nursing to 37 hospitals

Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Avera Health has launched virtual nursing at two hospitals with plans to expand it across the system.

The program started this fall at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Center in Sioux Falls and Avera St. Mary's Hospital in Pierre, S.D., but could spread to all the health system's 37 hospitals at some point soon.

"Imagine we have this technology in every patient room in every hospital across Avera," said Kristine Becker, director of virtual medicine for Avera Medical Group, in the Nov. 9 story in SiouxFalls.Business. "Think about the doors it opens; it's not just a virtual nurse who can help a patient. It could be a therapist or a pharmacist who needs to connect, or even an out-of-town family member."

The virtual nurses support bedside nurses by completing such tasks as admission assessments, medication reconciliation, pain reassessments and independent double checks. Earlier this year, the hospitals also started virtual monitoring of patients to prevent falls.

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