virtual nursing

Unlocking Virtual Nursing Excellence: 5 Essential Strategies for Success

Virtual nursing presents a new way of providing care. Health systems are experimenting with various use cases, including patient observation, virtual patient rounding, and virtual sitting. Virtual nursing technology has potential for facilitating better patient care by providing high quality video and audio and enabling more efficient patient monitoring. But to succeed, technology requires a human touch. Here are 5 keys to success, most of which are less about IT and AI and more about people and process improvement: 

5 Keys to Success: 

  1. Change Management: Virtual Nursing is a vast clinical and operational shift. Vendors must take time to get to know clients’ needs, building customized plans based on conversations with clients’ team and a detailed study of how they work. The solution must be laser focused on clinician and nursing staff needs.
  2. Modern IT Stack Allowing Fast, Reliable Two-Way Video: Allows RNs and clinical care teams to admit and discharge patients remotely, engage with them on rounds, connect with specialists in other locations, and provide training and mentoring to other staff members using portable, flexible devices with high-fidelity cameras that can zoom in and be remotely manipulated to observe patient attributes and medications. Vendors need top-shelf technology, data integration, and AI that is flexible enough to function in various clinical environments.
  3. Integrated Workflow: The virtual nursing offering needs to integrate with Epic and other EHRs so caregivers can easily launch virtual patient visits from the EHR without interrupting their workflow. If it is too difficult to use or implement, virtual nursing will not be widely adopted. 
  4. Flexible Partnerships: Virtual nursing vendors cannot expect to successfully deliver a solution on their own. Vendors need to partner to deliver hardware, A/V devices, software platforms, and skilled nursing professionals.
  5. Nursing Led: Virtual nursing solutions are best when nursing led. Simply put, the nurses must like them. Vendors need to instill confidence with RN teams to capture baseline metrics, optimize processes and reporting on outcomes, and demonstrate how effectively the health system is implementing solutions and adopting virtual nursing processes. Nurses need to guide such performance improvement initiatives. 

The most successful virtual nursing vendors understand that technology can change the way care teams, patients, and families connect and collaborate. But this technology requires clinical buy-in to achieve sustainable success.   

In our recent survey report titled The Digital Health Tipping Point, a survey of more than 100 hospital executives, more than one-third of respondents said the value of virtual nursing is overstated. Current adoption rates of virtual nursing were just 13% among those surveyed.  

However, 31% of these executives said they planned to implement virtual nursing in 2024. There is just one chance to get it right and build confidence. Some 48% of these executives said they believed it would have either a positive or very positive impact on their health systems. Following these keys to success will be the difference between that delicate line between success and failure.