Posted by: Duke Raleigh Hospital | April 21, 2020

Virtual Visits Inside the Hospital Improve Patient Care During COVID-19 Response

Duke Raleigh Hospital Emergency Department team members working with Duke Health Technology Solutions and Operations team members to set up iPad communications.

Patients who are positive for or suspected of having COVID-19 are now using iPads to communicate with their Duke Raleigh Hospital caregivers.

The initiative, which began as an effort to conserve personal protective equipment and limit team member exposure, is also providing a better care experience for patients.

“Because we’re limiting physical interactions, it can be really lonely in isolation for the patient,” said Donte Saucillo, RN, a clinical nurse caring for COVID-19 patients. “Now, not only are we able to have more frequent interactions, but through the iPad, the patient can actually see my face, unlike when I am in full PPE.”

Dr. Timothy Plonk, Medical Director for Duke Raleigh Hospital’s Emergency Department, is also receiving positive feedback from patients.

“Patients are telling me they appreciate that we are keeping a distance and understand the benefit of using this technology,” he said.

Patients are now using iPads to communicate with their Duke Raleigh Hospital caregivers.

In the Emergency Department there’s an iPad designated for providers, and several deployed to nurses to take to patients if a provider needs to discuss a care plan, discharge plan or test results.

“Having this system set up allows for a lot of different options and flexibility for patient care,” said Dr. Plonk. “We can call into a patient’s room much quicker than if we had to walk across the hospital. We can also utilize providers that may be at home. This has the potential to augment our ability to communicate better with our patients moving forward.”

Sacuillo agrees using the iPads to communicate with patients has a place in the future of healthcare. “It’s nice to see communication methods that are already being used outside the hospital, inside the hospital,” she said.

–By Stephen McNulty

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