Remote visual monitoring team offers ‘another set of eyes’ where needed most

September 12, 2022 Providence News Team

Three employees in patient logistics center, viewing computer screen
At Providence Health & Services – Oregon Region, a team of certified nursing assistants uses technology to keep some of our most vulnerable patients safe, 24 hours a day, without ever stepping foot inside their rooms.

The Patient Logistics Center, located in Portland, Ore., houses a collection of monitors, each one plugged in to cameras in as many as 10 individual patient rooms at our ministries across the state. The remote visual monitoring team watches over the patients and alerts on-site medical staff to potential emergencies. 

woman viewing computer screenThe team monitors patients at high risk for falls, or those who might be inclined to remove their lines, as well as patients who may be likely to cause harm to themselves. They watch out for signs of choking or other distress.

It wouldn’t be possible to always have someone physically in those rooms. That’s why the work of the remote visual monitoring team is so vital.

“To know that somebody has eyes on your patient, I think is a huge relief to a lot of our nursing staffs,” says Amy Down-Maul, R.N., nurse manager.

This technology – known as Telesitter – first came to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in 2018. The program moved to a central business office location in 2020 and expanded to include additional ministries and more than 50 cameras.

“It’s made a huge difference in what we do,” says Annette Christensen, RN, associate nurse manager for the neurovascular department at Providence St. Vincent.

Utilizing the cameras

Annette says her department makes extensive use of the cameras. She says they utilize the remote visual monitoring team for patients who need to remain in bed, but may impulsively want to get up, along with people who could be seriously injured in a fall. It’s also being utilized to monitor seizure patients.

“It’s another set of eyes,” says Anette. “It’s just always helpful.”

woman viewing computer screenDiane Norris, a Providence caregiver for nearly 26 years, joined the remote visual monitoring team over a year ago and likes talking to her patients. She reassures them that the remote visual monitoring team is there to oversee their care with dignity and compassion.

For Diane, it’s also about connecting with patients in a whole new way. Some patients may require virtual monitoring for months, while others may be in and out in a day.

“You learn about them, what’s important to them,” says Diane, whose goal is to keep patients comfortable and safe, while also assisting onsite medical staff.

Diane likes to check in on her patients every day. She asks them about their life, family and jobs, either past or present. Many just want someone to talk to, especially during COVID, when capacity was limited for guests.

“Everybody works as a team,” she says. “That’s very, very evident. Everyone works as a team.”

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