The Financial Benefits of Virtual Nursing
Technological advancements reshape how we deliver care in the rapidly evolving healthcare landscape. One such innovation that has gained significant traction is virtual nursing. This groundbreaking approach to care delivery transforms patient experiences and nurse satisfaction and yields operational and financial benefits for hospitals. In this blog, we’ll explore the functional advantages of virtual nursing concerning inpatient care.
Reduced Readmissions and Improved Care Outcomes
One of the financial benefits of virtual nursing lies in its ability to enhance patient management and reduce hospital readmissions. Virtual nurses assigned to inpatients can efficiently manage routine care, such as patient monitoring, medication management, admission, discharge and transfer documentation, medication reconciliation, and patient education, without being physically present at the patient’s location.
Utilizing virtual nursing processes to discharge inpatients allows for the virtual nurse to spend what feels like “more time” with the patients, providing education and answering questions, reconciling medications, and ensuring that the patient understands what is expected of them for follow-up. Early anecdotal data from many organizations implementing virtual nursing indicates that readmissions have decreased in the units that utilize virtual nursing. This more thorough discharge process occurs in less time due to the proficiency of the VNs doing this work repeatedly. So, a patient receives a more robust discharge in a shorter time, equaling efficiency and value.
Virtual nursing is valuable in Hospital-at-Home models, where it enables continuous monitoring of a patient’s health condition and access to nurses for questions or support without patients leaving their homes. This proactive approach helps detect potential complications early, allowing for timely interventions that prevent the exacerbation of medical issues. As a result, the likelihood of costly hospital readmissions decreases significantly.
In the cases of both inpatients and outpatients, regular access to nursing support through virtual channels can foster better adherence to treatment plans and medication regimens. Improved patient compliance ultimately leads to better health outcomes, reduced emergency room visits, and fewer hospital stays, all of which contribute to substantial financial savings.
Care Reach and Patient Engagement
Virtual nursing via home care transcends geographical boundaries, making healthcare accessible to individuals residing in remote or underserved areas or individuals who might struggle to travel. This expanded reach improves patient outcomes.
The interactive nature of virtual nursing concerning both inpatients and outpatients fosters higher levels of patient engagement. Patients feel more empowered and involved in their care when regularly interacting with their nurses through video calls, chat platforms, and other virtual communication channels. This increased engagement occurs through relationship building, better treatment adherence, fewer complications, reduced healthcare costs, and increased patient engagement/retention. Collected data from across multiple organizations demonstrates improvements to HCAHPS for patients who have received virtual nursing as an inpatient.
Scalability and Versatility
The scalability of virtual nursing has an advantage that hospitals should consider: the ability to launch it a unit at a time as needs or budgets dictate. As patient demand for remote healthcare services grows, organizations can quickly expand their virtual nursing offerings if they choose or pursue the care model at a slower cadence. This adaptability allows institutions to respond at the desired speed to market trends and changes in patient needs.
Virtual nursing and its ability to transform the healthcare industry have several financial benefits. Virtual nursing is not intended to replace direct care nurses but to support and streamline their work. By embracing technologies, healthcare organizations are reducing costs, expanding their care reach, and improving patient outcomes. As the landscape continues to evolve, it’s clear that virtual nursing will not just be a temporary trend but a fundamental shift that promises to reshape healthcare delivery. The combination of cost-efficiency, patient engagement, staff satisfaction, and versatility makes it unwise to ignore the financial benefits of virtual nursing.