Health and Wellness Informatics News

Inpatient telemedicine is improving care and patient satisfaction at Howard University Hospital

Staff is thinking to make the specialist visits easier to assess, which can improve patient satisfaction.

In March 2020, the number of new COVID cases increased rapidly in Washington. With no vaccination or any kind of specific treatment on the horizon, Howard University Hospital is preparing for a major surge of cases.

Soon after this situation of pandemic, a racial disparity is becoming very clear. African Americans were quite disproportionate to taking the toll for the infections. It has developed more serious and fatal kinds of diseases. With a larger Black community in Washington, the Howard University Hospital is preparing for more patients.

The hospital is setting up a tent for the expansion of its emergency departments. Also, it is investing in the major construction works for the expansion of its existing departments. It is preparing itself for the surge of 125% of the primary capacity.

They are putting stress on deploying not only new beds, oxygen, nurse, and call systems but also for staffing in the new departments. Many of the physicians are interested in returning from their retirement. However, they were also afraid of the risks regarding COVID while being onsite.

With this advanced age of retired physicians, they are facing a much higher risk of developing serious illnesses. Inpatient telemedicine seems to be the best solution to solve this problem. With the deployment of telemedicine carts in the hospital, physicians can also provide more remote care.

Early during this pandemic, to minimize the infection risk in the area of the hospital, they came with a policy for no visitation. Without access to relatives, patients can feel alone and isolated. To solve this problem and to improve patient satisfaction, the hospital is purchasing washable tablets for communication. With the help of a third-party component, they are also focusing on improving their wireless network.

During this time, Howard University Hospital has applied and received an $881958 grant from the FCC telehealth fund. This one is to purchase the telemedicine carts, tablets, and software licenses. The telemedicine system is currently not integrating with the other system. With the help of Amwell, they have developed training programs for the nurses and physicians to be ready for the upcoming surges.