Remote Communication with Families of Critically-ill Patients

The Team

Team Lead: Orly Boger

 

Team Members:

Maya Samuels

Shay Ratson

Yaniv Minkov

Elisha Gottstein

Inbal Faran Perach

Adam Shoket

Yaffa Zisk Rony

Irene Shafir

Zehorit Zfira

Jeffrey Green

Arie Prosak
Tal Blumstein

Maya Naveh

Adi Shamir

Itamar David

Yam Dvir

Yael Florenthal

Elad Zicherman

Inbar Halevi

Michal Gordon

Yuval Cantor

Adva Regev

Alon Slutzky

Ana Rahamim

"Far-Near" by Dr. Elisha Gottstein

Remote Communication with Families of Critically-ill Patients

Robots Review

User Guides

The complete family guide

The complete team guide

Initial

Installation Guide

Technical Explanation

System Design

The technical information of the system

The contents of the system

Patients and Family Explanation

Information sheet for the hospitalized families

Patient explanation page and medical confidentiality waiver form

The Challange

The challenge was to find a way to keep families of critically-ill patients in intensive care, up-to-date with what is going on and connected to their loved one at a time when they cannot physically “visit” or see the patient.

Due to the high risks of contagion, COVID-19 patients are generally unable to receive family visits. This results in significant emotional challenges for both patients and families, especially in cases where critically ill patients are left alone in their final moments.  Due to high caseloads, medical staff often do not have the time to sit with families and update them adequately, nor to hold a phone up to the patient to allow their loved ones to “see” them. Results of trials have shown that conducting online family “meetings” with some form of visual communication element increases a family’s faith in the medical team as well as enhancing emotional understanding of the situation. Furthermore, providing a platform that allows families to ask questions and communicate with the team in charge of caring for the patient, offers families a level of comfort while reducing the load on the medical staff.

The Solution

The team developed an active information transfer system, using video call technology, which can provide families of critically-ill patients, regular updates and explanations about the patient’s health status.

 

The team analyzed data from the field and based their platform on needs that arise in hospitals treating COVID-19 patients worldwide. Hospitals can pick the solutions that best suit the needs of patients from a suite of options detailed here:

Need: The inability of family members to see the caregiver and/or the patient while talking to them. This is especially relevant in the case of patients who are on a ventilator and cannot talk on the phone.

 

Solution: Video call via tablet attached to a mobile arm/pillar/robot. The tablet will allow the family to connect with and see their loved one and is easy to use even for those with little experience with technology. Staff can control the tablet remotely allowing family members to talk to the patient (or sing a favorite song) at a convenient time or when communication with the family is deemed critical.

Need: Communication between family members with various staff members inside or outside the ward. This is generally needed to discuss medical decisions and to update the family about a patient’s condition. 

 

Solution: The system allows people to participate in calls within the ward, outside the ward and even outside the hospital.

Need: Family members tend to have many questions that require long explanations. The same questions arise repeatedly across cases and answering them adequately takes up valuable medical time.

 

Solution: The platform offers the following: 

1. Automated answering routine questions - preprogrammed answers to common questions (for example, what is a respirator) can be instantly sent to families who ask them to save medical staff valuable time.

 2. patient-specific information can be entered by staff at a convenient time into the system which then generates a message to families briefly describing the patient's condition.

Current status

Two trials of the system are currently underway.

The team are close to completing the programming of Q&A for the automated “answering” service.

 

The team has also created a general road map for the automated bot\messaging tool and will soon publish parts of it with a guide for usage that will incorporate a how-to guide and a general plan for integration for hospitals.

What’s Next

The team are currently in discussions with several hospitals that are interested in using the solution. They are also seeking funding and logistical assistance to help them roll out the "visual visit" aspect of the solution out to more hospitals. 

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