Lee Health is the largest public health system in the state of Florida, serving Lee County and the surrounding areas. With over 14,000 employees and 1,800 beds, the nonprofit system engages with more than 2 million patients each year through its four acute care hospitals, two specialty hospitals, multiple skilled nursing facilities, outpatient centers, and walk-in clinics. Like many health care systems, Lee Health has persistent and acute challenges within its talent pipeline, especially among frontline staff.
In nearly all hospitals, some patients require more monitoring and support than clinical staff can provide. These patients may be at risk of falling, struggle with confusion or agitation, or be at risk of harming themselves or others. The system had been exploring moving to virtual monitoring and observation for years, shifting the “safety tech” role from in-person to virtual. Lee Health needed a unified system that could enable quick decisions, comprehensive information, and, especially, clear communications between safety techs and clinical staff.
After safely piloting the virtual safety tech role, employees are now observing patients in all four acute care facilities. The program has resulted in improved job quality for techs and cost savings for the system. Supported by effective upskilling and thoughtful implementation, Lee Health realized financial benefits and created new capacity to support patients and clinical staff.
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