virtual nursing

Revolutionizing Patient Care: How Virtual Nursing Is Transforming Healthcare 

By David Jastrow

In an era where healthcare faces unprecedented challenges, virtual nursing platforms are transformative. Leveraging advanced technology, virtual nursing solutions bridge gaps, enhance patient care, and reduce nurse burnout and staffing attrition.  

What Is Virtual Nursing? 

Virtual nursing is not merely a technology – it is a change in basic assumptions that allow nurses to provide care remotely using digital communication platforms. Virtual nursing enhances bedside care provided to patients while reducing the burden on bedside nurses.  

By blending remote patient care with bedside care, virtual nursing supplements traditional care models, ensuring regular check-ins and continuous communication between patients and nurses, and between nurses and care teams.  

Here is how it works

Virtual Assessments 

Purpose: Conducts assessments remotely. 


  • Admission History: Gathers patient information during intake. 
  • Physical Assessments: Uses sensors or technician assistance. 
  • Patient and Family Resources: Provides education and support. 


  • Accessibility: Reaches patients in rural or underserved areas. 
  • Saving Time and Money: Streamlines the assessment processes. 
Virtual Monitoring 

Purpose: Monitors patients’ health status without needing a nurse to always be physically present at patients’ bedside. Virtual sitters can monitor multiple patients in real-time, with AI technology such as virtual railings reducing the risk of falls and elopement, while supporting multi-room patient monitoring. 


  • Sensors: Collect real-time data (vital signs, activity levels) from patients. 
  • Remote Observers: Skilled, often more experienced nurses, oversee patient treatment decisions via video-enabled telehealth. 


  • Early Detection: Prompts identification of deteriorating health. 
  • Efficiency: Allows nurses to focus on critical cases, reducing administrative tasks while slashing labor and time costs. 
Post-Discharge Education 

Purpose: Ensure smooth transitions from hospital to home. 


  • Discharge Instructions: Virtual nurses guide patients through post-hospitalization care. 
  • Medication Management: Educates patients on medication regimens. 
  • Follow-Up Plans: Schedules virtual visits to monitor recovery. 


  • Improves patient engagement and loyalty while generating additional revenue streams. 
  • Provides customized, on-demand patient content through post-care interactions. 
  • Lowers readmissions by enabling hospitals to deliver clear and concise patient and family experiences and next-step instructions. 

Real World Scenario 

CareView: Grady Memorial Health System 

  • CareView installed fifteen portable cameras with twenty-four smart mounts for a 39-bed unit. 
  • Using the CareView Virtual Nursing platform, the bedside RN completes physical assessments at bedside, while the virtual RN conducts admission interviews, history reviews, medication and allergy updates, and measures key health indicators.  
  • The virtual RN provides in-depth patient and family education, adding off-site family members and subject matter experts (SMEs) as needed. 
  • Upon discharge, the Virtual RN provides discharge instructions to the patient, ensures follow up provider visits, schedules appointments, and evaluates and acts on any insecurities.  
  • CareView recently added Smart Bed Detection, which includes the addition of automated bed detection for use with CareView’s Virtual Bed Rails. This simplifies the usage of CareView’s AI-driven technology, notifying staff when the patient demonstrates an intention to leave the bed. 


  • Zero falls and elopements. 
  • 84.6% sitter cost reduction. 
  • Annual cost savings for the department were ~$720,580. 
  • The health system piloted remote nursing on its medical surgical unit, where virtual nurses answered call bells using the television as their access point.  
  • The pilot revealed that 35% of calls did not require a staff member to enter the room, saving nurses’ time while minimizing the spread of infections. 

 Advantages of Virtual Nursing 

  • Improved Access: Virtual nursing reaches patients in remote areas, addressing healthcare disparities. 
  • Cost-Effective: Virtual nursing reduces hospital readmissions and unnecessary visits. 
  • Enhanced Patient Engagement: Regular check-ins foster patient involvement in their care. 
  • Efficient Resource Allocation: Allows on-site nurses to focus on critical tasks. 
  • ROI: Health systems have reported positive ROI returns within 1-2 years of their initial investments, sometimes even sooner. 

Risks and Considerations 

  • Technological Challenges: Ensuring seamless connectivity and user-friendly interfaces. 
  • Privacy and Security: Protecting patient data during virtual interactions. For example, a woman who recently had a stroke was startled when virtual nursing technology abruptly interrupted her TV show in her hospital room at MercyOne Hospital in Mason City, Iowa, to introduce her virtual nurse, whose sudden appearance on the screen left her with mixed emotions of awe and concern. 
  • Training, Education, and Change Management: Preparing nurses for the operational changes driven by this emerging technology. Without clear guidelines and process improvement guidelines, the chances for success are diminished. 


Virtual nursing is not a replacement for traditional care, but implemented correctly, it can be a powerful complement to bedside care. As healthcare evolves, embracing technology-driven remote care solutions ensures continuity, efficiency, and improved patient outcomes.  

According to Health Tech Magazine, healthcare organizations are grappling with an aging nurse workforce, with a median age of fifty-two and a projected 4.7 million nurses retiring by 2030. 

For virtual nursing to become widely adopted, its technology and processes must respect patients’ privacy, notifying patients before entering the room virtually, delivering them privacy when changing clothing, and allowing patients to decide whether to allow family members and friends to participate in their care. 

Early results are promising. Clients are seeing outcomes improvement in less than six months, including reductions in adverse patient events and a quick return on their investment.