LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 18, 2023) – Saint Joseph Hospital is celebrating the launch of a new model of nursing care that will address staffing challenges while enhancing patient care. On Tuesday, April 18, hospital leaders shared an update about the virtually integrated care technology developed by CommonSpirit Health, which selected CHI Saint Joseph Health as a pilot site to pioneer this model of care.
As Lexington’s first hospital, Saint Joseph Hospital has been on the cutting edge of innovation throughout its 146-year history and is innovating once again with this new technology. Saint Joseph Hospital is the first facility within CommonSpirit Health and one of the first hospitals in the country to pioneer this new care model.
“Over the past few decades, we have seen nursing shortages throughout the country, and the pandemic has exacerbated the problem. While we have faced many challenges, we have found new opportunities to serve our communities,” said Anthony Houston, Ed.D., FACHE, CEO, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “We’re excited to share the story of the innovative technology that takes care within our hospital to a whole new level. Virtually integrated care is more than a virtual nurse; it is a team model that enhances patient care through technology.”
The new model adds a virtual registered nurse (RN) to the hospital care team, which includes a bedside nurse and a patient care assistant. The virtual RN also leads multidisciplinary rounds, working closely with physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists and the nursing team. The new technology makes the virtual nurse readily available to patients and families through the tap of a screen and allows the bedside team to focus on other responsibilities.
Saint Joseph Hospital launched virtually integrated care in December in a small number of rooms on the third floor of Saint Joseph Hospital; however, once hospital leaders saw how successful the program was and heard feedback from patients and caregivers, they expanded it to all the rooms on the third floor.
“I’ve been a nurse for 33 years, and the shortage of nurses has been a constant throughout my career, but the pandemic over the last three years has exacerbated the problem,” said Melissa Bennett, DHA, RN, COO, CNE, CHI Saint Joseph Health. “I’ve watched nurses leave the profession altogether, and fewer people are entering nursing school, adding to the crisis level of nursing shortages across the country. Like many other health care systems, CHI Saint Joseph Health has been searching for ways to address staffing issues, and I’m proud to see a new care model that will truly make a difference for facilities and patients alike. It is a game-changer for our facility.”
Virtually integrated care does not replace the bedside nurse; it is in addition to the bedside team that compounds the care being given to the patient, helping remove any delays in discharges, cutting the length of hospital stay and getting patients back to their lives in a timely manner. The new care model allows the bedside RN more time to focus on additional responsibilities while the virtual RN assists with charting, providing education, and conducting assessments and discharges.
CHI Saint Joseph Health plans to eventually expand the care model across Saint Joseph Hospital and its other hospitals within Kentucky. CommonSpirit is also rolling out the care model in other parts of the country.
About CHI Saint Joseph Health
CHI Saint Joseph Health, part of CommonSpirit Health, is one of the largest and most comprehensive health systems in the Commonwealth of Kentucky with 100 locations in 20 counties, including hospitals, physician groups, clinics, primary care centers, specialty institutes, home health agencies and an ambulatory Care Center. The hospitals in CHI Saint Joseph Health are Flaget Memorial Hospital, Saint Joseph Berea, Saint Joseph East, Saint Joseph Hospital, Saint Joseph Jessamine, Saint Joseph London, Saint Joseph Mount Sterling, and Women’s Hospital at Saint Joseph East. In total, the health system serves patients in 35 counties statewide. CHI Saint Joseph Health is dedicated to providing a wide array of services toward a goal of building a healthier future for all. CHI Saint Joseph Health embodies a strong mission and faith-based heritage and works through local partnerships to expand access to care in the communities it serves.
About Saint Joseph Hospital
Saint Joseph Hospital is a 433-bed hospital located in Lexington, Kentucky. Established in 1877 by the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky, the facility serves residents of central and eastern Kentucky and is a nationally recognized tertiary medical center. Saint Joseph Hospital is Lexington’s first hospital. The hospital’s original mission was to provide compassionate care to the poor and underserved – a tradition still carried out today.