Danville, Pennsylvania-based Geisinger this week announced that it has received a $948,741 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development, which it will use to build out its virtual inpatient nursing program.
WHY IT MATTERS
With the grant, disbursed as part of the USDA’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program, will be used to outfit Geisinger Medical Center and Geisinger Shamokin Area Community Hospital with new telehealth technologies as part of Geisinger’s Virtual Nursing Program, which launched this past year.
The initiative is designed to give experienced nurses the tools and empowerment to offer remote, system-wide support through Geisinger’s 24/7 virtual nurse center, where registered nurses handle admissions, discharges and virtual rounds, enabling bedside nurses to prioritize hands-on patient care.
Besides offering patients better access and an improved care experience, the effort helps bedside nurses manage their workloads – while offering an opportunity for veteran nurses who may have retired from active bedside care but still want to help patients.
“Virtual nursing will play a vital role in the future of healthcare and how we address critical healthcare issues, like the ongoing nursing shortage and increased acuity of patients in our hospitals,” said Janet Tomcavage, RN, executive vice president and chief nursing executive at Geisinger.
“When we find innovative ways to build a work environment where nurses are engaged and working to the top of their skill set, our patients benefit too,” she added.
THE LARGER TREND
The USDA grant to Geisinger is just part of its larger $4.7 million effort to offer rural Pennsylvanians more access to remote education and healthcare resources. Its Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants fund real-time distance learning and virtual care services in rural and tribal areas.
Geisinger has long been an innovative pioneer in telemedicine and virtual care, of course, and has widely expanded its telehealth offerings in recent years. It now offers telemedicine services for more than 70 specialties, virtual behavioral healthcare and telepsychiatry and more.
Just this week, Healthcare IT News profiled how the health system’s virtual group therapy programs are enabling more patients to be treated in a more timely manner.
ON THE RECORD
“We’re always looking for ways to improve patient outcomes and employee experiences through innovative, efficient and effective approaches to care,” said Rebecca Stametz, vice president of digital transformation at Geisinger, in a statement. “To do that, we need access to the best digital capabilities. By creating systems that improve the daily lives of our nurses, they can continue providing the best care in a rapidly evolving field. We’re grateful for the opportunities this grant will provide.”
“We’re eager to build on the success of our Virtual Nursing Program,” added Derek Godino, Geisinger’s senior program director of nursing. “This grant will help us explore and expand our virtual nursing capabilities – meaning more of our inpatients will be able to benefit from this advanced level of care and more of our nurses will have added flexibility and career options.”
Mike Miliard is executive editor of Healthcare IT News
Email the writer: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.
Source : Healthcare IT News