Title: New Model to Offer Nursing Homes Vital Support Virtually

by | Jun 24, 2023 | Digital Health, Healthcare Industry News

Regenstrief Institute researchers have taken a significant step in enhancing clinical support within
nursing homes by initiating a pilot study to develop a virtual application of the OPTIMISTIC model.
This existing in-person model aims to improve workflow and provide improved clinical assistance.
With nursing home populations growing and workforce shortages becoming a pressing issue, this
innovative approach seeks to address these challenges head-on. Despite virtual care being
recognized as a valuable resource, nursing home staff seldom utilize it to support resident care.

OPTIMISTIC, an acronym for Optimizing Patient Transfers, Impacting Medical Quality, and Improving
Symptoms: Transforming Institutional Care, has a proven track record of success. The
implementation of this program has led to a significant 33 percent reduction in potentially avoidable
hospitalizations among nursing home residents, as well as a noteworthy 20 percent decrease in
overall hospitalizations for this population. These positive outcomes demonstrate the potential
impact of integrating the virtual application of OPTIMISTIC within nursing facilities.

Upon a patient’s admission to the facility, nurses carry out a thorough virtual review of the patient’s
electronic medical record (EMR) data. This comprehensive review aims to identify any modifications
or adjustments in services that occurred during the patient’s hospitalization period. By leveraging
the patient’s EMR data, nursing staff can ensure continuity of care and make informed decisions
regarding the resident’s ongoing treatment and well-being.

The feedback gathered during interviews with nurses regarding the virtually delivered OPTIMISTIC
model revealed shared perspectives on key aspects. These perspectives highlighted the importance
of fostering a collaborative relationship between nurses and nursing home staff, the need for
tailored programs, and the utilization of up-to-date medical record data to support relevant
recommendations. This aligns with the rising trend of virtual nursing programs being witnessed
across various healthcare systems.

Kathleen T. Unroe, MD, MHA, a study author from Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University
School of Medicine, emphasized the significance of well-trained nurses with nursing home
experience who have access to residents’ electronic medical records. She stated, “The goal of this
study was to look carefully at what kind of clinical support well-trained nurses, with nursing home
experience and access to residents’ electronic medical records, can provide virtually to support
clinical care in the facility.”

In line with the growing demand for virtual care solutions, Providence recently announced plans to
expand its successful pilot phase of the Co-Caring model. This hybrid nursing model aims to provide
patients with comprehensive care while simultaneously benefiting caregivers. By incorporating a
virtual nurse into the bedside team and employing a bidirectional audio and video platform, Co-Caring aims to revolutionize care delivery and enhance the overall experience for both patients and

The introduction of this new virtual support model holds great promise for nursing homes,
addressing the urgent need for enhanced clinical assistance and promoting a collaborative approach
to resident care. As the healthcare industry continues to embrace virtual nursing programs, this
groundbreaking development brings hope for a more efficient and effective future in nursing home

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