Imagine having to transform nearly 1,000 hospital-room TVs into virtual care endpoints — and in record time.
That exact challenge was faced by nonprofit health system Banner Health earlier this year. As COVID-19 patients began flooding into Banner’s hospitals and emergency rooms, it suddenly needed a large number of in-room telehealth systems. These systems would let Banner nurses and doctors check in on highly contagious patients without getting sick themselves.
To create these systems quickly, Banner Health worked with Intel and a telemedicine company called VeeMed. Their solution combined VeeMed’s advanced software with Intel NUC Mini PCs.
This telehealth system is now being used in all of Banner’s 28 acute-care hospitals in six western U.S. states, helping staff to provide fast, safe and efficient patient care. The Intel-VeeMed solution also saved a “great deal of time and money,” says Banner CEO Jim Roxburgh.
Simple and fast
Traditionally, telehealth systems were moved from room to room on rolling carts. But the carts can be expensive to build. And they can take months to deploy. In the middle of a pandemic, Banner Health simply didn’t have that kind of time.
Instead, retrofitting the in-room TVs turns out to be a fast, economical and effective way to provide telehealth. As part of the solution, an Intel NUC — a small, reliable and high-performance compute device — is attached to a TV.
Then the Mini PC is loaded VeeMed’s HIPAA-compliant telehealth software. Finally, this setup is augmented with a speakerphone and pan-tilt-zoom camera. Because the setup is relatively simple, each installation took only a few hours.
Banner Health’s telehealth system in action
The telehealth solution lets doctors and nurses check in on the patients remotely; it also lets the patient reply from their bed. There’s no need to interact with a cart, keyboard or other peripheral device.
Doctors and nurses can also monitor patients’ oxygen levels and other vitals. And the camera lets them inspect the patient’s appearance, zooming in to see details as small as the pupil of their eye.
With this in-room telehealth setup, Banner Health enjoys several valuable benefits:
> Higher-quality patient care: Doctors and nurses can check in on more patients in less time, respond more quickly to their needs, and provide personalized care — even during a pandemic crisis.
> Reduced risk: Staff can check in on patients without entering their rooms, reducing their risk of infection and the need for protective personal equipment (PPE).
> Lower costs: The Intel NUC Mini PC can be mounted on TVs at a fraction of the cost of cart-based telehealth solutions.
> Faster installation: Each installation takes hours, not weeks or months. Plus, Intel NUC Mini PCs are easy to store or transport.
> Higher performance: Intel processors offer the performance and reliability Banner Health requires. That includes high-quality graphics for video streams.