HCA ups virtual nursing to over 10 hospitals

Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA Healthcare said virtual nurses are becoming a "critical part of the modern care team" as the health system is now piloting the model in more than 10 hospitals across nearly that many states.

The virtual nurses, who interact with patients on TV or tablet screens, typically help with administrative tasks, freeing up bedside nurses for more hands-on care.

"In several pilot programs within our organization, remotely-located virtual nurses are proving to be extremely valuable in the areas of admissions, medication history, discharge teaching and rounding," said Sherri Hess, BSN, RN, chief nursing informatics officer at HCA Healthcare, in a March 7 news release. "Virtual care can attract a variety of nurses, including nurses considering retirement, who are committed to our goals of improving bedside nurse satisfaction and the patient experience."

HCA, the nation's largest health system, said early results over the past two years have been positive, with bedside nurses reporting better workload balance and patients signaling their approval. Early patient satisfaction scores numbered 100% at HCA Florida University Hospital in Davie, Fla., and 88% at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C.

HCA said it plans to continue to evaluate the program in the coming months and consider future expansions.

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