Healthcare innovation elevates virtual care transitions programme

LONDON: Transitional education is a crucial step in a short-term resident’s care plan before discharge. Gurwin Healthcare System in Commack, NY, saw a unique opportunity to educate both soon-to-be-released residents and St. Joseph’s College of Nursing students by leveraging video call technology.

​​The company’s efforts have earned it the Gold Award in the Keep It Super Simple category of the Skilled Nursing track in the 2021 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards.

When COVID-19 hit, Gurwin’s transition education program, which helps residents understand how to self-manage chronic illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, or high blood pressure among others, was especially affected.

But under the leadership of Mary Jean McKeveny, director of clinical innovation and adjunct faculty member at St. Joseph’s College in Patchogue, NY, they found an innovative solution through a partnership with the nursing school there.

Every Wednesday, transitional care educator Sherryanne Rampersad-Lalchan led the nursing students through transitional care education and oversaw their virtual rotations of educating residents on their chronic illnesses.

The students helped residents understand more about their specific illness, the importance of medication and its instructions, and dealing with recurring symptoms.

“The residents were very open to it,” McKeveny said. “It generated quite the buzz around the hospital.”

Residents used tablet computers funded through a grant from the United Hospital Fund as well as tablets donated by Telehealth Access for Seniors, a national student-run non-profit group aimed to collect used technology for isolated seniors.

“The [residents] would simply press a button and there would be the student nurse waiting to meet, greet and educate the resident,” said McKeveny.

The result was very successful — a true win-win for both residents and nursing students, who were unable to perform in-person clinical rotations due to the pandemic and needed more educational opportunities themselves.

Other Keep it Super Simple award winners in the Skilled Nursing Track were:

Silver: Alma, MI-based Masonic Home implemented SAIVA technology that utilizes EHR patient data as a way to track trends in patient behavior to monitor the risk of rehospitalization.

Bronze: Oregon provider Avamere Rehab of Eugene used a root cause analysis in Excel and Abaqis software to address meal order inaccuracy and improve patient satisfaction and boost dining efficiency.