Vanderbilt to expand virtual nursing

Nashville, Tenn.-based Vanderbilt University Medical Center plans to expand virtual nursing in the next six to 12 months, the Nashville Post reported Oct. 18.

The academic medical center launched the technology from startup over the summer, enabling virtual nurses to help cardiac and transplant patients with admissions, discharges and education, as well as assist providers at the bedside, according to the story. Now it will soon go hospitalwide.

"The biggest change we're beginning to see is that the cost of this technology is coming down to a point where we're able to distribute it in more care settings, just like the cost of computers came down and allowed more people to use them," CIO Neal Patel, MD, told the news outlet.

The in-room cameras, even when they're off, have ambient sensors that can pick up movement to help prevent falls, "kind of like a motion detector might be working at a very crude level in a house," according to Dr. Patel. The virtual nurses are physically located in another part of the hospital.

"I view this infrastructure almost like we view Wi-Fi," Dr. Patel told the Post. "Once you have this infrastructure in place, it's amazing the way we begin to leverage it and think about it — it just becomes part of our ecosystem as we move forward."

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