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Virtual nurse | A new way to receive emergency patients

In Saguenay and Quebec, hospitals have adopted a new emergency pre-triage mode. The first contact is now made by default with a nurse who appears on the screen.

Newspaper daily This week’s narrative of a surprising patient with head trauma who, upon arriving at the emergency room at Chicoutimi Hospital, finds herself for the first time confronted with a virtual “pre-screening” by difference. An initiative to reduce waiting times, explains the CIUSSS du Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean in the article.

Currently, two emergency rooms at the University Hospital Center (CHU) in Quebec City are doing the same and those at the other three hospitals in this network will soon follow.

Mylene Ferrand, the emergency critical care coordinator there, has been at the forefront of implementing this way of doing things.

Where is the virtual nurse located? Slightly apart, in a desk. If someone collapses in front of the monitor, she won’t be the one rushing to help the patient. A code will run immediately so nearby employees can take over.

Because the nurse who was placed in pre-triage, in CHU, is pregnant or immunocompromised.

Of the benefits of this initiative, says Mr.I Ferran, it is precisely the contribution of this nurse “who cannot do the essential work”, but who can nonetheless make her contribution.

“It makes us another nurse in the emergency room,” M. continuesI Ferran.

The pre-triage nurse asks brief questions, asks the patient what brings him to the hospital and assesses how quickly his condition requires triage. The nurse takes, among other things, vital signs and assigns a priority code (from 1 to 5).

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As the virtual nurse pre-triages, M.I Ferran guarantees that the wait to be seen at the next stage, in sorting, will never exceed an hour, “while in rush hour it can be up to three or four hours.”

Aware that not everyone feels comfortable seeing a nurse on screen for the first time, patients have the option of seeing a specialist in person when they arrive, says Ms.I Ferran.

Because a doctor’s visit can still take several hours, the nurse must reassess patients at frequent intervals. This task is now also assigned to the virtual nurse, who also monitors the waiting room at all times.

Quebec welcomes this project, which has also been implemented in vaccination centers, says Antoine de la Durantay, press secretary of Health Minister Christian Duby.

This is a concrete example of what can be achieved using new technologies to ensure greater accessibility based on patient needs, as is the case with telemedicine in particular.

Antoine de la Durantay, press attache to the Minister of Health, Christian Duby

In Montreal, no hospital contacted said they had a virtual pre-triage project in the pipeline.

fiq supporter

Julie Bouchard, president of the Fédération interprofessionnelle de la santé du Québec (FIQ), says her union will be “open to current experiences.” [pour] See if it’s not worth exporting this practice to other emergencies.”

Dr. is consideredDr Judy Morris, president of the Association of Emergency Physicians of Quebec, considers the idea “very interesting”, especially because it allows a staff member to contribute even if their health condition does not allow him to be on the ground at the allotted time.

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She stresses, however, that the virtual nurse must remain an “extra help” and that this should never lead to anyone withdrawing from the field, because all hands are necessary, among other things when a slightly aggressive person appears in a hospital.

Dr. is consideredDr Morris adds that pre-triage should be done by an experienced nurse who knows the environment well, and this task takes impressive skills.

Dr. is considereds Alain Vadeboncourt, an emergency physician at the Montreal Heart Institute who in the late 1990s was involved in developing the emergency triage scale, sees no problem with the new practice in place in certain institutions either.

In the emergency room, people often expect to “feel cared for,” so it is important to assess whether patients are comfortable with this concept. But a priori, the first basic questions are asked by a nurse who is on the screen and not behind the glass as is currently the case, and this is the same logic, according to Ds vadeboncore.