Health systems rethink nursing

Hospitals are redesigning nursing and care team models to meet patient needs and leverage technology to better support nurses. While still in the early stages, a few health systems are seeing promising results for patient care and nurse satisfaction.

Trinity Health in Livonia, Mich., is moving the needle with its TogetherTeam Virtual Connect Care™, which uses three-person teams of nurses with one virtual and two on-site to support direct patient care.

"Patients receive comprehensive care from a collaborative team, made up of a direct care registered nurse, a nursing assistant or LPN, and an on-site registered nurse connecting virtually," Michael Slubowski, president and CEO of Trinity Health, told Becker's. "We continue to see encouraging results in nurse and care team engagement, reduced turnover, improved quality and safety, and patient and family satisfaction with their care."

The program is live at 21 of the system's hospitals across 10 states. There are around 1,900 beds covered within the program.

BJC HealthCare in St. Louis is also leveraging virtual nursing to boost patient care. Thomas Maddox, MD, vice president of digital products and innovation at BJC HealthCare and Washington University School of Medicine, told Becker's the program has "demonstrated a significant impact" by virtual nurses assisting beside nurses with their inpatient responsibilities.

The program supported 4,951 inpatient admissions and yielded positive results:

  • 100% HCAHPS score for virtual nursing in the "Nurse Courtesy/Respect" domain
  • Gave bedside nurses 1,650 hours back for direct patient care
  • Improved admission documentation rates to greater than 85%
  • Helped reduce nurse adjusted voluntary turnover to 6.4%

"We are continuing to scale across our entire system in 2024 and are excited to see its continued impact," Dr. Maddox said.

Joseph Webb, DSc, CEO of Nashville (Tenn.) General Hospital, created and implemented a new model of care management in recent years informed by the science of healthcare delivery, called Community Care Team. The team includes non-nurse navigators, nurses, nurse practitioners, social workers and dietitians.

"The goal is to change the local culture of healthcare by engaging in a no-discharge structure and process whereby delivery of healthcare/wellness services is provided in the hospital, home, physician's office, or other post-acute care setting," Dr. Webb told Becker's. "The provision of services is aligned with the mission of NGH and population health needs of Nashville and the Davidson County community."

Dr. Webb's team is diversifying its methods for identifying and recruiting patients into the program, with the goal of reducing unnecessary ER visits and hospital readmissions. The program provides support for patients to self-manage care and connect with community resources.

"We identify high-risk patients through a high utilizer registry report that indicates patients with potential avoidable utilization," Dr. Webb said.

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