The Emergency Care Research Institute (ECRI) released its top 10 patient safety concerns for 2023, including alarming issues such as violence against healthcare staff, care coordination challenges, and the right interventions’ timing. These concerns amplify the pressure on already overloaded clinical environments. With financial and staffing resources stretched thin, clinical leaders must explore innovative, proactive measures to mitigate these issues.
AI video monitoring systems offer hospitals a powerful tool to observe patients constantly, even when a staff member is not in the room. The AI watches the video, extracts movement patterns, and can identify key actions to understand trends and moments. Then, by creating workflows using this information, hospitals can improve what they know about their patients, reduce staff pressure on what happened when they were not in the room and enhance overall efficiency.
By continuously monitoring patients, these systems can become a trusted part of the bedside team – reducing clinician anxiety from the unknown of what is happening with one patient while occupied with others.
Observe, Recognize and Act: The Power of Human + AI in Patient Safety
Upon examining ECRI’s safety concerns, three core themes emerge timely intervention, adequate clinical support, and efficient care coordination. The absence of these aspects can compromise patient safety, leading to inadequate care and potential harm. In this respect, AI has a crucial role to play by aiding healthcare providers in time-critical decision-making. This kind of AI, augmented by virtual providers to support the bedside team, can improve efficiency and serve as a guardian angel for patients and their teams.
Combating Violence Against Healthcare Staff
AI’s ability to instantly identify aggression towards healthcare staff via video monitoring and predictive analysis can mitigate and diffuse potential safety issues before they escalate. In addition, by tracking how a patient is moving over time and changes in their patterns, video monitoring can help identify patients whose risk levels have risen. Combined with low-cost, ubiquitous video, providers can check in virtually anytime – providing quicker responses to patients and reducing the potential for hazardous interactions.
Virtual Provider as the Guardian Angel of the Bedside Team
Often, clinicians are thrust into work beyond their competencies or scope of practice – a situation that leads to professional burnout and dissatisfaction. This is particularly acute with nursing shortages that have led to less experienced nurses being put into more difficult situations than previous generations.
A virtual nursing system powered by AI could provide much-needed assistance, especially when nurses have to adapt to different unit requirements. A virtual nurse can offer real-time assistance regarding medication information or mentoring for specific procedures or other unit-specific details. By empowering the virtual nurse with AI that watches all patients, a more experienced virtual nurse can be directed to patients facing more precarious situations – like a static patient in bed who has not had a care in the last two hours (increasing their risk for pressure injury).
Also, virtual nurses can act as a secondary verification mechanism, reducing the possibility of medication errors directly related to three of the top ten safety concerns.
Optimizing Care Coordination
Gaps in care coordination for patients with complex medical conditions can have serious consequences. The attention to detail needed typically guides such patients to ICU settings. However, it is becoming more common that patients in step-down units have similar characteristics but with a fraction of the attention.
Continuous AI video monitoring can track a patient’s movement, location, care activity and related trends, making it more straightforward to monitor patients transitioning from higher acuity settings more closely virtually. This enhanced monitoring, paired with simplified virtual consultations, creates better care coordination between the teams where the patient is and where they came from. Similarly, it helps to ensure that critical care is not omitted from the patient’s journey.
Navigating patient safety concerns in today’s healthcare landscape is a daunting task. But with the integration of AI and human expertise, we can confidently address these challenges. AI not only enhances patient safety and care quality, but it also alleviates the burden on healthcare staff, improving their work lives. As the healthcare industry evolves, adopting AI will be instrumental in overcoming patient safety challenges and achieving optimal care outcomes.