Virtually Integrated Care: A New Paradigm in Patient Care Delivery

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Current trends, including an aging population; the impact of the Affordable Care Act; increased complexity and acuity of patient needs; shorter hospital stays; and higher patient expectations have resulted in a significant demand for reconfiguration of the bedside nursing model. The health care system is further complicated by a shortage of highly trained nurses, challenging financial incentive models, and inefficient traditional staffing models. These challenges have increased the urgency for designing a more efficient, cost-effective care delivery model. One large national system is redefining how it cares for patients in the acute care setting in preparation for the Next Era. Catholic Health Initiatives is developing a new integrated model of care that combines advances in technology with a restructuring of nursing roles for significantly more efficient and effective care. The model is person-centered and allows team members to practice to the full extent of their education and training. The model emphasizes care from the right skill level, for the right patient need, at the right time. This article begins to describe the planning and implementation of the Virtually Integrated Care Team (VIC) pilot project on 2 medical-surgical units within the Catholic Health Initiatives system.

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