Intermountain Healthcare has developed creative ways to keep patients and caregivers safer from COVID-19, thanks to a $100,000 grant from Intel that has funded the purchase of 70 new camera systems for use in the Intermountain Patient Safety Monitoring (PSM) program.
Intermountain caregivers use the portable cameras to serve as a set of eyes and ears in hospital rooms where patients may be at risk of falling, pulling out an IV or catheter, and other concerns.
Working from a secure remote location, PSM caregivers can watch for signs of trouble, and then intervene by notifying on-site clinical staff and using the system’s built-in microphone to remind the patient that help is on the way.
The cameras are deployed to Intermountain hospitals throughout Utah and monitored from Salt Lake City.
In addition to helping keep patients safer from falls and other risks, the system has also proved to be very beneficial in coping with COVID by:
- Reducing risk of potential exposure. One PSM caregiver can monitor 12 patients at a time, which reduces the number of people who have to enter or exit patient rooms daily.
- Alleviating strain on staff. The PSM program frees up certified nursing assistants, who can help with other staffing needs, which in turn frees up more time for nurses to provide patient care.
- Creating other opportunities for work. During the COVID pandemic, some caregivers were unable to continue in-person care for a variety of reasons, including having a compromised immune system. The PSM program gave them an opportunity to continue working and caring for patients in a way that was safer for them.
Research nationally has shown that similar remote monitoring programs have significantly reduced patient falls, increased confidence among patients and families and helped reduce overall costs for patients and hospitals.
“At Intermountain, we strive to offer the best possible care to our patients and caregivers. While this pandemic has been taxing on both parties, it is gratifying that there are ways to help alleviate the burdens of the pandemic one way or another to these populations,” says Andrew Davis, project lead for Patient Safety Monitoring at Intermountain Healthcare. “We are always strategizing and finding ways to improve safety and this grant helps fulfill that.”
The Intel grant funded 70 portable camera/microphone units powered by Intel Core i5 processor, Intel WiFi, and Intel RealSense camera, which boosted the program’s capacity by more than 45 percent.
Since the program begin in 2017, the Intermountain Patient Safety Monitoring system has been used to serve more than 9,500 patients for a combined total of more than 1.4 million hours.