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Rounding Software: Shaping the Future of Virtual Nursing

virtual nursing

Virtual nursing is a care model in which experienced nurses deliver expertise and medical care to patients through remote videoconferencing technology, supporting their team at the bedside virtually. Rounding software is designed to help healthcare providers streamline communication, documentation, and collaboration during patient encounters through this care model.

What is Virtual Nursing?

Virtual nursing is a practice where nurses use remote video conferencing to provide expertise and perform tasks without being physically present in a healthcare facility. This technology-driven approach enables nurses to carry out routine, yet crucial, aspects of patient care in a more time-efficient, effective way.

Some nursing-related tasks that can be conducted virtually include: 

  • Conducting admission interviews
  • Answering patients’ questions
  • Performing routine check-ups and health monitoring
  • Providing health education
  • Communicating with family members
  • Offering discharge instructions

virtual rounding data

The Rise of Virtual Nursing

Prior to 2020, the use of virtual nurses was largely confined to traditional nurse hotline settings. This shifted, however, as healthcare organizations began to leverage virtual nurses to handle basic, routine tasks during busy times, optimizing their patient care teams.

Tasks like intake, discharge and basic charting were delegated to extensive virtual nursing pools. This strategic move allowed staff nurses to concentrate on in-person patient care, where their presence was most crucial.

Then, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the practice gained momentum as hospitals witnessed an increase in volume of patients and workforce shortages. Ultimately, there was a demand for more virtual care options, and virtual nursing offered a great solution. Since then, it’s showed no signs of slowing down. In 2022, healthcare saw a 34% increase in the number of virtual nursing programs around the United States.

This growth reflects a broader trend of innovation necessitated by staffing shortages projected to worsen in the coming years; by 2027, it is predicted that about 900,000, or one-fifth of the 4.5 million total registered nurses, will leave the workforce. This statistic underscores the urgent need for innovative care models like virtual nursing, which can ensure that patients continue to receive quality care despite these challenges.

Recognizing the escalating crisis, Jennifer Ball, director of virtual care at Saint Luke’s Health System in Kansas City, emphasized to HealthTech, the need for innovation in staffing: “None of us are going to have the complement of nurses that we would like to have moving forward, so we have to get creative with the way that we provide care.”

In addition to the growing number of nurses leaving the profession, the healthcare system faces unprecedented challenges due to the aging baby boomer population. The nursing workforce itself is aging, with a median age of 52, and approximately 4.7 million nurses are projected to retire by 2030.

Virtual nursing offers a valuable solution, creating opportunities for these experienced professionals to continue their careers in a less physically demanding role.

Benefits of Virtual Nursing

Virtual nursing has contributed to patient empowerment by providing necessary support, and enhancing convenience. It has also been linked to improved job satisfaction among nurses.

Other benefits of virtual nursing include:

  • Extended reach: Virtual nursing enables experienced nurses to provide care and consultation to patients in remote or underserved areas.
  • Increased efficiency: Virtual nurses handle routine administrative tasks, allowing onsite staff to focus more on direct patient care. Nurses are also able to manage their time more effectively, as virtual consultations eliminate the need for commuting, allowing them to see more patients or spend more time on individual cases.
  • Cost savings: By reducing the need for physical infrastructure and minimizing travel expenses, virtual nursing can lower healthcare costs for both providers and patients.
  • Improved patient satisfaction: The model allows for faster response times and increased availability of care can improve the overall patient experience.
  • Enhanced patient engagement: Virtual nursing facilitates more frequent and convenient communication between nurses and patients, leading to better patient engagement and compliance with treatment plans.
  • Decreased burnout among healthcare workers: The virtual nursing model helps reduce the physical and emotional strain often experienced by bedside nurses, contributing to lower burnout rates and a healthier work-life balance.
  • Improved job satisfaction among nurses: Virtual nursing can lead to higher job satisfaction as nurses experience the benefits of flexible working conditions, reduced physical strain, and the opportunity to focus on patient care without the pressures of a traditional hospital setting.
  • Opportunities for experienced nurses: Enables seasoned nurses to continue their practice in a less physically demanding environment, thus retaining valuable expertise within the healthcare system.

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The Role of Rounding Software

Rounding software is essential for the success of virtual nursing; it streamlines regular check-ins, assessments, and communication by providing nurses with comprehensive checklists and all necessary information during a virtual engagement. This tool ensures that care delivery is both efficient and comprehensive.

Key benefits of rounding software in the context of virtual nursing include:

  • Improved patient monitoring: Rounding software allows nurses to systematically track patient health status and needs through detailed checklists and assessments, ensuring that no aspect of a patient’s care is overlooked.
  • Enhanced care coordination: By centralizing patient data and care plans, rounding software facilitates better coordination among healthcare providers. This ensures that all team members are informed and aligned in their care efforts, leading to more cohesive patient management.
  • Proactive intervention: Rounding software helps in the early identification of potential health issues through systematic monitoring, enabling timely interventions that can improve patient outcomes and safety.
  • Data-driven insights: The software collects and analyzes data from virtual patient rounds, providing insights that help in understanding patient needs, optimizing care processes, and improving overall healthcare delivery.
  • Increased patient safety: By ensuring regular and thorough checkups and monitoring, rounding software helps in identifying and mitigating risks, contributing to the prevention of adverse events and enhancing patient safety.
  • Efficiency in care processes: The use of checklists and structured workflows in rounding software helps streamline the care process, making it more efficient and reducing the likelihood of errors.
  • Actionable feedback loop: Virtual rounding software enables the collection of feedback from patients and staff, which can be used to continuously improve care practices and enhance patient satisfaction.

Driving Quality Care & Patient Safety

Beyond assisting with regular check-ins and assessments, rounding software enhances virtual safety huddles, where interdisciplinary teams come together to identify potential risks, discuss near-misses, and address safety concerns.

Recent studies have found that safety huddles improve team communication, collaboration, and coordination, leading to enhanced efficiency and better functioning across clinical roles. By fostering open communication and collaboration, these huddles create an opportunity for sharing insights, best practices, and lessons learned, ultimately improving overall patient safety.

By centralizing patient data and care plans, digital rounding ensures transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.

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By automating routine tasks and streamlining workflows, virtual rounding helps reduce the burden on virtual nurses, allowing them to give more time and attention to high-value activities such as patient education and care coordination. Not only does this reduce burnout rates, but it fosters a sense of fulfillment and purpose among healthcare professionals, improving job satisfaction and patient outcomes.

Looking toward the future of healthcare, rounding software serves as a valuable tool with a shift toward patient-centered care. Its role in virtual nursing is transformative, enabling efficient remote care and fostering ongoing improvement and excellence. Thus, rounding software is essential in driving forward the evolution and success of virtual nursing, embodying innovation, and a commitment to quality care.

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