Here’s a great article about technology that is new and in the initial trials in Australia. It really seems to me that if this can be done for home-health, it should be a no brainer for hospital patients to be remotely connected to the nurse. Maybe even have the ability to get vital signs remotely for hospital patients.
I don’t think this would work for my clients because they are all up walking about, but maybe some revised version could be applied to psychiatric patients. This idea is very interesting, isn’t it?
The internet-enabled unit, which looks like a cross between a television and a jaffle iron, allows the elderly and infirm to have a video conference with a nurse from their own home.
The device also guides these patients through a daily process of checking their own blood pressure, pulse and weight while automatically transmitting this vital data to a clinic for centralised monitoring.
“You could have one registered nurse monitoring maybe 50 or 60 patients in a day using this remote patient monitoring, while they can only do 10 or 15 when they do it face-to-face,” said Margaret Scott OAM, who heads a community care nursing service north of Sydney.
“A lot of my nurses travel a hundred kilometres in the course of their community visits in a day … therefore we’re making real effective use of the scarce commodity called the registered nurse.”
Mrs Scott, who is Nursing Director at Hunter Nursing Agencies in Toronto, is overseeing a pilot study involving up to 50 of the Intel Health Guide units which have been newly introduced to Australia.
She said while it would never replace a home visit by a nurse to perform “hands on” care like wound treatment, the device could be used for the many visits which were for monitoring purposes alone.
Elderly users involved in the trial had adapted quickly to the hi-tech alternative to a nurse home visit, Mrs Scott said.
“We have a significant number of aged and frail lone-livers in the Hunter (region); we’re looking at 80 years plus and usually with a chronic disease,” Mrs Scott said of those trialling the unit.
“It sometimes takes them a little while to become comfortable or to move on from thinking its a computer … but they can see people on it and that very quickly wins them over.”
The device – or similar units made by competitors – could hold the key to improving health care delivery in rural and remote parts of the country without prompting a major break-out in costs.
An Intel spokesman said while pricing was not able to be released publicly, the device used conventional technology and the internet and this made it “in the realms of commodity prices for a PC” to buy and operate.
Compared to having a registered nurse driving around the countryside to undertake routine monitoring, Mrs Scott said it was a “no-brainer” and was cost effective.
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