02 June 2021 | Opinion
Virtual nursing continues to be an important preliminary touch-point for patients to access customized healthcare services
Image credit- shutterstock.com
The pandemic will go down in history as a ‘Black Swan’ event that presented numerous challenges to companies across sectors. The last 18 months have been especially challenging for the healthcare industry.
The pandemic disclosed the pressing need to invest in healthcare and public-health infrastructure. Not only has it placed unparalleled demands on the modern healthcare system, but it also exhibited the industry’s resilience and its capability to develop and execute innovative solutions.
The pandemic is unlikely to end anytime soon, and the healthcare sector must continue to look beyond the immediate challenges the crisis puts forward.
Organizations investing in innovations is the need of the hour. The pandemic has impacted people’s lives and health in more ways than one, altering their very existence and interaction.
Agile response from the industries fortifies their capabilities and resilient nature. Such paradigm shifts are speculated to accelerate several industry trends, profoundly impacting the global economy.
Considering the criticality of their services, the global healthcare industry has been compelled to adopt the virtual mode to substitute their traditional in-person services.
The pandemic has changed the utmost nature of how people “work” due to which work from home is the new dawn for many nurses. Nurses are critical to this scenario, covering key touchpoints that can affect the overall patient experience — considering they are providers of care, ensuring that the patient fully understands and prepares for the treatment.
As the name implies, a virtual nurse takes care of your health from afar. Leveraging technology, a virtual nurse can interact with the patient, direct and also monitor patient care. Virtual nurses work with on-site nurses, integrating workflows and delivering enhanced quality of care and treatment. A lower rate of readmissions and easy access to personalized consultations are some of the key results.
These services extend beyond phone services to digital options like videoconferencing. Such an approach enables nurses to provide key services without a direct in-person meeting with the patients.
Also known as telehealth nurses, they check vitals and make specialist referrals. Here are some of the benefits of virtual nursing:
Helps triage or prioritize on a day-to-day basis
Nurses are trained to deliver safe and effective care virtually. They learn to prioritize immediate threats to a patient’s life as a part of the initial assessment and instruct them to seek physical professional care only if their symptoms are unmanageable at home. Triaging also helps validate the practice of nursing while assessing the day-to-day activities of providing efficient care to the patients. Triage services can be provided and assessed from any location, at any time. It can be innovated and delivered digitally, through video, text, and email.
Reviews chart and does a pre-counter prep
Virtual nurses can review the medical chart and can complete patient assessments, and develop a comprehensive guide remotely.
Aids the doctor with faster assessment
The concept of virtual nursing aims at elevating patient care. The process helps nurses focus on more urgent and skill-based tasks at hand and aids the doctor with faster assessment. They also help doctors with faster assessment, by assessing and handing over the pertinent information online.
Promptly addresses patient queries
Any kind of patient query is dealt with effectively. Patients can now have their queries addressed promptly, immediately alleviating their anxiety and confusion. These virtual services help the doctors to better manage their time and resources, allowing them to conserve those for more critical patients.
Identifies error or inconsistencies
Consistency and reliability are the foundation for any trust-based relationship in the medical field. Identifying errors and inconsistencies becomes a critical work aspect of a virtual nurse. Mitigating them ensures accurate treatment and better care.
It is the organization, billing, filing, updating and processing of medical claims related to patient diagnoses, treatments and medications. When claims are denied, they need to be appealed; appeal letters are prepared and sent along with supporting documents including Medical Records for processing. Virtual nurses evaluate medical claim denials, and prepare professional, effective clinical appeals.
Clinical Documentation Integrity
Clinical Documentation Integrity (CDI) is a process by which clinical indicators, diagnoses, and procedures documented in medical records are supported by the appropriate ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS codes. In addition to communicating the patient's illness and care plan to providers, they are critical for reimbursements and quality measures: accurate codes ensure complete representation of the severity of the patient's illness, and the efficacy of the treatment plan. Virtual nurses can help identify errors or inconsistencies, making pre-emptive updates or corrections, thus reducing claim denials and ensuring right diagnosis and care.
Virtual Nursing continues to be an important preliminary touch-point for patients to access customized healthcare services, from query clarifications to wellness education to better understanding of test reports. Thanks to technological advancements, everything is just a click away and, nursing should be no exception. In this new normal, everybody should have access to quality healthcare, at home, at the click of a button.
Technology is equipped to revolutionize the healthcare system for the better— in terms of quality, personalization and accessibility of care. The need of the hour is to leverage technology to create innovative models to meet patients’ growing demands and needs. It is imperative to create positions in the healthcare industry that could take aid from technology. Let’s not forget the fact that nurses, even from a distance, will continue to provide us with much-needed care and support.
Santosh Kesari, Country Manager, Philippines, Omega Healthcare Management Services