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Virtual Hospital: What is It, Benefits, Examples, Opportunities

September 06, 2021

Health systems began developing remote monitoring services, particularly to control chronic conditions, long before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Virtual hospitals, or remote, hospital-at-home projects, are a powerful representation of this effort.

Presently, the world observes that demand for virtual hospitals that serve patients from anywhere is increasing, not only due to the pandemic but also due to the world’s aging population and the rise in the number of chronic diseases.

The concept of virtual hospitals is rapidly taking root, thanks to emerging technology that makes it easier for doctors to attend to patients anywhere.

What is a Virtual Hospital

A virtual hospital uses IoT, telemedicine, digital therapeutics, and care navigation technologies to provide continuous remote patient care.

Virtual care is a tried-and-true form of care that assembles a centralized, senior team of clinicians and uses technology to help patients in and out of the hospital. The solution provides caregivers with critical information, allowing them to better care for the patients who require it most and preventing deterioration before it occurs.

Benefits of Virtual Hospital

Through a unique, high-tech environment, the virtual hospital provides the following benefits:

Improved Patient Capacity

One of the key advantages of virtual hospitals during pandemics like COVID-19 is that they increase hospital capacity. Because the number of positive cases and those in need of inpatient care is growing rapidly, virtual hospital solutions can help to boost inpatient capacity.

Furthermore, the utilization of virtual hospitals can improve daily monitoring and care for COVID-19-infected patients while limiting exposure to other patients and healthcare workers.

Enhanced Hospital Workflow Efficiency

The allergy, physiotherapy, mental health, and chronic disease divisions are particularly well-suited to establishing a virtual hospital because they rarely require immediate medical attention. A virtual hospital can help doctors and nurses spread their workload, reducing patient wait times and allowing them to watch more patients at once.

Decreased Care Costs

Hospital assets, from beds to exam gloves, are in high demand due to the surge in hospital admissions caused by COVID-19, with some assets constantly being in short supply.

Patients who do not require immediate hospitalization can use a virtual hospital to stay at home, saving money on examination and treatment costs. For one, a remote triage, such as a video conference with a primary care physician, increases access to health care while lowering the cost of emergency room visits.

Real Examples of Virtual Hospitals

There are two types of virtual hospitals today: those that treat patients worldwide and serve as instructional centers for students and professionals looking to advance their careers.

Mercy Virtual Care Center

The Mercy Virtual Care Center, dubbed the world’s first telehealth center, provides virtual care services to patients in many US states. The facility offers four main telehealth services:

  • vICU: Doctors and nurses use highly sensitive two-way cameras, IoT, and care navigation technology to remotely monitor patients’ vital signs.
  • vStroke: Patients with stroke symptoms who visit an emergency room can get a virtual examination from the center’s neurologist using a two-way camera and the patient’s electronic health record.
  • vHospitalists: Helps to support real-time evaluation, test and therapy orders, admissions, and transfers management.
  • vEngagement: The center’s team uses biometric monitoring and interactive technologies to proactively monitor and engage chronic patients while providing a tablet, a blood pressure monitor, a pulse oximeter, and a weight scale.

Joint Virtual Care Centre

The COVID-19 pandemic in Australia led the Armidale Hospital emergency department to launch a virtual emergency room for the coronavirus affected in March 2020. Patients receive a tablet (or a smartphone app) and necessary gadgets for their condition (pulse oximeter, blood pressure monitor, etc.). They are required to attend pre-arranged e-visits regularly.

Hospital Virtual Valdecilla

Mannequins, actors, part-task trainers, and virtual patient models get used in simulators at Hospital Virtual Valdecilla, a simulation center for healthcare in Spain Receive, to allow healthcare professionals and students to learn safely.

Virtual Cardiology Lab

Medical students become virtual interns under physicians’ supervision. Examining a patient with heart problems using several diagnostic gadgets is an example of virtual training under such a virtual hospital.

Opportunities

A virtual hospital brings along a slew of opportunities to leverage new technology that can improve efficiencies and provide useful data.

Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Leveraging the powers of artificial intelligence and machine learning to automate time-consuming tasks is a great way of enhancing efficiencies. These technologies truly shine when used for data entry particularly when paired with optical character recognition. Combining these technologies together allows for a fully automated data entry system that can even be used for handwritten forms.

Internet of Things Devices

IoT devices can provide exceptional value in the data they can collect and the systems they can automate. Typically, IoT devices are used most in monitoring equipment to determine when it needs servicing and optimizing its operations.

Cloud Storage

Cloud computing continues to grow throughout industries. It’s quickly becoming a necessity to remain competitive. Cloud computing and cloud storage tech allows you to immediately expand your computing power based entirely on current demand. It also reduces cybersecurity risks.

Conclusion

It is not easy to bring a hospital into the virtual world. Thus, selecting the right team to assist and guide you is critical.

As a competent medical software development agency, VITech creates effective healthcare software critical for EHR compatibility, patient involvement management, precise symptom indication, and conclusive healthcare outcomes.

You are welcome to contact our experts for an initial consultation if you consider turning your healthcare organization into a virtual hospital.

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