We have all heard the phrase presented to us in millions of scenarios “Change is the only constant”. Through my life I have found that idea to be as solid as the sun rising every morning. It is not a matter of choice. So embracing this fact and being a student of this unfolding life is the easier road. Life is an adventure. 35 years ago I had no idea of what my life would look like today. I was fresh out of nursing school. Wide-eyed and ready to help my patients back to a life of better health. I lived in a world of no cell phones. Nor could I imagine that a fictitious device used by Captain Kirk would become a reality. Now I am a slave to my ever-present cell phone. As a floor nurse on an oncology unit I was limited by the luxury of the technology at my fingertips. My predecessors did not have an intercom system, lab results within an hour, or sterile needles. Today these concepts seem fictitious and undoubtedly archaic, although they were the reality of that time.
I now am privileged to work at a company that is helping to bridge health care gaps, brings the patient into the center of focus and increases the outreach of the provider. This is all done with high tech equipment. But there is so much more… I work at Optimized Care Network. A phrase that describes this company is that it is a high tech, high touch way to deliver healthcare. At OCN, the RN brings the patient into the room. There is a conversation with the patient about pertinent data, billing, history of present problem and any underlying issues, lifestyle, vital signs. This information is entered into the Electronic Health Record –EMR and the provider can see this information before they join the encounter. Then the provider enters the room on a 55-inch screen. This special technology allows the provider to be displayed in a 3D lifesize image in real time. Initially our patients may be wowed by this experience, however as the conversation with the provider continues the magic of the technology falls away. This screen allows for eye-to-eye contact. This is the building block of all relationships. The provider guides the nurse through performing the physical assessment. There are cameras in the room that can further advance the exam. The image is brought onto the screen where the provider and the patient can see it enlarged to about the size of a basketball. This assists the provider with objective data and empowers the patient with knowledge of there own body. We also use a stethoscope with Bluetooth technology. So the provider can hear in real time all body sounds, heart, lungs, bowels and carotids. More objective data. As the conversation and plan between the patient and provider continues the nurse enters the assessment data into the chart. They can capture any of the relevant photos from the camera and enter them into the chart to be compared at a later date. The provider is able to give the patient their full attention and help educate them towards better health. All these very cool tools and the process that is used can be an impactful, submersive experience for our patients. The nurse/ care coordinator in the room provides not only health related skills, but is a warm human presence. When the encounter ends the nurse is still present in the room and adds an extra layer of reinforcement. A dear coworker of mine had an elderly patient state. “ This experience has been all about me!” Hooray!! As it should always be! So as much as I know that the sun will set this evening, I know that the digitally enhanced Doctors visit will be commonplace. I am excited to see how it unfolds and helps patients on the road to better and more educated wellness.
Read more into this exciting evolution on our website.