Inpatient Telehealth Tools to Enhance Communication and Decrease Personal Protective Equipment Consumption during Disaster Situations: A Case Study during the COVID-19 PandemicFunding None.
Background As the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic exerts unprecedented stress on hospitals, health care systems have quickly deployed innovative technology solutions to decrease personal protective equipment (PPE) use and augment patient care capabilities. Telehealth technology use is established in the ambulatory setting, but not yet widely deployed at scale for inpatient care.
Objectives This article presents and describes our experience with evaluating and implementing inpatient telehealth technologies in a large health care system with the goals of reducing use of PPE while enhancing communication for health care workers and patients.
Methods We discovered use cases for inpatient telehealth revealed as a result of an immense patient surge requiring large volumes of PPE. In response, we assessed various consumer products to address the use cases for our health system.
Results We identified 13 use cases and eight device options. During device setup and implementation, challenges and solutions were identified in five areas: security/privacy, device availability and setup, device functionality, physical setup, and workflow and device usage. This enabled deployment of more than 1,800 devices for inpatient telehealth across seven hospitals with positive feedback from health care staff.
Conclusion Large-scale setup and distribution of consumer devices is feasible for inpatient telehealth use cases. Our experience highlights operational barriers and potential solutions for health systems looking to preserve PPE and enhance vital communication.
Protection of Human and Animal Subjects
Yale Institutional Review Board (IRB) determined this activity did not meet the regulatory definition of research and therefore IRB review was not required.
Received: 21 July 2020
Accepted: 01 October 2020
04 November 2020 (online)
© 2020. Thieme. All rights reserved.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG
Stuttgart · New York
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