Between HHS and St Joes there is a backlog of 11,000 surgeries and procedures caused by the pandemic. In order to speed up the flow of patients through the system the hospitals are turning to virtual technology. The two hospitals, established a joint virtual command centre to provide patients with the support of a Nursing and Physician hospital-to-home virtual care team, to help ensure a successful recovery at home with the support of remote automated patient monitoring technology by Cloud DX.
With the Surgical Transitions program, enrolled patients go home with the Cloud DX Connected Health kit, featuring a tablet paired with equipment to capture vital signs and weight. The technology is used by the virtual care team to remotely monitor the patient from the hospital command centre. The virtual care regimen includes daily patient vital signs review, nurse video visits and assessments, surgical wound photography and review, medication error detection and correction, and pain assessment. Together, the nurses and physicians review the patients’ recovery daily, and nurses escalate care when the attention of a physician is needed. Upon discharge from the program, the patient returns the device to the command centre.
Said Dr. P.J. Devereaux, cardiologist and perioperative care physician at Hamilton Health Sciences, “this program provides a mechanism to facilitate more patients to receive timely surgery.”
“It is our goal that the innovative Surgical Transition program will provide support to post-operative patients as they transition home, simultaneously decreasing the need for returns to the Emergency Department and readmission,” says Dr. Rahima Nenshi, the clinical lead for Perioperative Care and the director of Acute Care Surgery at SJHH. “This will support the ramp up of surgeries that have been delayed and are so desperately needed.”
To date, the initiative has served surgical patients from various care pathways over the past three and a half-month period at both SJHH and HHS. This program improves the patient experience, increases accessibility to care, gives peace of mind and helps support patients and their families in the comfort of their home environment.
The program operates seven days a week, 14 hours a day to support patients as they recover at home with remote home monitoring technology. The program facilitates early discharge, as well as reduces length of stay, rehospitalisation and unnecessary trips to the Emergency Department.
The team is comprised of an interprofessional team of Perioperative physicians – including cardiologists, surgeons, and anesthesiologists and nurses to support virtual rounds and patient care. Jennifer Lounsbury, registered nurse and Chief of Interprofessional Practice, Oncology, Critical Care and Palliative Care at HHS. adds that, “having nurses, physicians, and surgeons work together to help manage patients virtually after hospital discharge has enormous potential to help deal with the backlog of patients waiting for surgery due to COVID-19 pandemic, which resulted in the delay of a lot of important elective surgery.”
One patient that was recently discharged writes, “I just wanted to say thank you to your team. I’m really grateful for this program. Even though this has been a crazy journey, I felt like I wasn’t alone. It was reassuring to have a group of capable people helping me and I really liked these daily check-ins”.