When resident Owings Mills Wayne Webb responded to a further call from an employee of the Northwest Hospital who asked him to open his front door, he was shocked when he saw waiting for the nurses. Although he did not feel well a few days before the visit of an emergency hospital, he had no idea why the nurses were at home.
The patients explained that they were called to check his medical condition and if urgent care was necessary. Then they entered his home, set up a computer screen and an emergency medical doctor, and mr. Jonathan Thierman, who asked for his symptoms.
"I did not know that there was a question, just that I did not feel good," Webb said. "[The doctor] He told me what he thinks is happening because of the way I sat. He was more concerned about me than to the next patient, "he added.
Shortly thereafter, Dr. Thierman appointed Webb, who needed urgent care, and was taken to a hospital where they were immediately accepted and remained for four days.
Webb is one of many patients who experience the benefits of virtual LifeBridge Health, a new supply model that improves co-ordination of supply, efficiency and improves patient satisfaction throughout the system.
It is located at the Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and runs a virtual hospital run by Dr. Thierman, also head of medical information and medical director of Virtual LifeBridge Health. It combines the use of a clinical management center, telemedicine services (including tele-triaging and tele-hospitalists) and international clinical call centers for the provision of co-ordinated care patients in a timely manner. Each component ensures that patients are effectively controlled, evaluated quickly, effectively treated, or most appropriate.
Using all these components, we can coordinate remotely coordinated visits with patients in their homes, transport them to a hospital if necessary, and find the right place in the hospital where they need care. We can also make virtual visits to patients in our affiliated institutions and coordinate the movements of these patients to different levels of care. "
JonathanThierman, Head of Medical Information and Medical Director, Virtual LifeBridge Health
A multidisciplinary team operates in the Virtual Hospital Clinical Center, which monitors the effective flow of patients to and from the hospital. By watching digital real-time data screens, staff can monitor the number of incoming patients, patient outbreaks, and bed availability. A representative from Pulse Medical Transportation is also available to coordinate the transfer of patients with a rescue vehicle to and between LifeBridge health facilities.
As a way to increase patient access to care, the virtual hospital telemedicine service allows providers to communicate with patients via a videoconference monitor remotely, so that Pulse personnel can take patients when they respond to a call for medical help or if the hospital sends them to the patient.
"Because we have telemedicine, our providers are placed in a certain space, have a video session on one screen, the patient's EMR (electronic health record) on the other and can talk directly to the patient on the screen to evaluate their condition." Dr. Thierman. "The providers are quite active. We currently see more than 1000 cases per month."
Telemedicine was also very successful in reducing waiting times and increasing the speed of patient care in emergency departments in Sinai and the northwestern hospital (ED). While nurses are treating patients, virtual hospital providers can simultaneously view and communicate with patients via video surveillance telemonitoring. Providers can immediately request and review tests and laboratory exercises, review nursing notes, diagnose and design a treatment plan.
In addition, a virtual hospital provides patients with the support they need through international calls for clinical operations. Centers located in Jerusalem, Israel and Manila in the Philippines have nursing staff and executives of advanced practice licensed in Maryland. The Center in Jerusalem provides telephone support to patients who have questions, follow-up calls to recently-released patients, and manages the requirements for re-filling prescriptions. LifeLink, based in the Philippines, helps plan patient monitoring and transportation.
Virtual Hospital is a great example of LifeBridge Health's innovation to improve patient care and patient experience. The use of digital health in the system alters the way in which patients receive and associate with their care, which results in an extension of access to healthcare, a reduction in waiting times and an increase in efficiency. This is all achieved while reducing hospital costs.
Since January, more than 4,000 patients have been using LifeBridge Health telemedicine services via tele-visit visits to connect with an emergency room (ED) provider. This increase followed the successful piloting of the service at the Northwest Hospital Hospital last year, when the total time from door to provider dropped dramatically from an average of one hour and 26 minutes to less than 26 minutes (69% reduction) between July and September. In the second case, the average time for a hospital patient to receive patients from ED into a unit was reduced by more than 90 minutes in November 2018 using telemedicine.
"LifeBridge Health is doing something very unique by combining telemedicine and clinical care with all the activities in one center in this virtual hospital. So far, we have had much success in this journey and we are piloting more projects in the future," said Dr. Thierman.
From his experience, Webb said that he was in fear when he watched in practice his telemedicine service of a virtual hospital. The whole experience was "exceptional" and the one he was grateful for.
If it was not him [Dr. Thierman] I would stay home and never go back to the hospital. Probably the best thing that happened. "