Health Workforce Innovations in Response to the COVID Pandemic
COVID Virtual Tools
With an influx of patients in hospitals during the pandemic, isolation, and decreased contact patients and providers may have a difficult time communicating. Many hospitals rely solely on face to face communication, which is particularly challenging given the transmissibility of Covid-19 and the current scarcity of personal protective equipment.
A small group at Royal Columbian Hospital came up with a creative solution: provide nurses and patients with low-cost tablets installed with Signal, a secure messaging app. The devices would connect to the hospital’s public wi-fi. They were pre-programmed to allow nurses to connect directly with patients and to help with privacy, conversations auto-deleted after 30 minutes. Essentially they were video-enabled walkie-talkies.
Patients using ‘Covid Virtual Tools’ felt immediately more supported. That question that they didn’t feel was important enough to warrant staff donning full protective gear – now they felt comfortable asking via their tablet. And care workers had more time to support patients from the safety of their stations. As a wonderful bonus, patients who didn’t have their own smartphone could communicate with their friends and family. Having the Covid Virtual Tools made an immediate impact on their mental wellbeing and made their stay much more positive.
Using our guide, volunteers anywhere in the world can create ‘Virtual Starter Kits’, configure them using the ‘How To’ Guide, package them up, and connect with hospitals in need, all within a couple of days.
IT/infrastructure for virtual care
Nurses - Licensed Practical
Nurses - Registered
‘Covid Virtual Tools’ is in service at Royal Columbian Hospital in Vancouver, Canada. Our goal is to expand this project to make this system easily accessible to all hospitals in need during Covid-19.