Using Virtual Observation & Communication to Optimize PPE & Nursing Staff Safety


The fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. The infection rate has been a roller coaster —and with more testing, new cases are back on the rise. The PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) supply chain is still struggling to keep up. The stories from the frontlines are sobering, and it all seems to boil down to these two issues regarding hospital staff and patient safety:

  1. Due to PPE supply chain issues and face-to-face visits as their only way of monitoring and caring for their patients, nurses nationwide continue to deal with an unnecessary amount of exposure to COVID-19, fear of infection, and performance-degrading stress.
  2. Due to a no visitation policy, patients struggling with COVID-19 continue to be isolated from their loved ones, even to the point of dying without being able to connect with them one last time, which is heart-wrenching for all parties involved.

Let’s start with the first problem and figure out how to help our healthcare professionals do their jobs with less exposure to COVID-19 and a reduced fear of infection. So, put yourself in a nurse’s shoes for a moment. You’ve just finished checking on a patient suffering from COVID-19, but the call button goes off again, and your heart skips a beat.

As you make your way back to their room, you quietly but fervently hope to perform all of your donning and doffing of PPE exactly right. You can still remember your co-worker testing positive, then think of your family you have to go home to once your shift is over.

Now focus. It’s time to go in, but first you must follow the CDC’s steps for donning:

  1. Identify and gather the proper PPE (including size) to don
  2. Perform hand hygiene using hand sanitizer
  3. Put on isolation gown (tie all ties; assistance may be needed)
  4. Put on NIOSH-approved N95 respirator (or facemask if not available)
  5. Put on face shield or goggles
  6. Put on gloves

Once inside, the patient tells you they need a drink of water. You assure the patient; it’s not a problem. You’ll be back soon with some water—wearing a brand-new set of PPE, mind you—but inwardly you wish there was another way to handle this as you begin the extremely risky doffing process:

  1. Remove gloves without additional contamination of hands
  2. Untie all ties or unsnap buttons, remove gown very carefully, and dispose
  3. Exit room
  4. Perform hand hygiene
  5. Remove face shield or goggles without touching the front
  6. Remove and discard respirator or facemask (and do not touch the front)
  7. Perform hand hygiene

This needs to be done every…single…time, and it’s not even 100% guaranteed that you won’t contract the virus, especially if you must reuse any of your PPE—due to continued shortages. After so many times, you don’t even have time to think about it because the patient next door is coding. Time to do it all over again.

All of that to say, our healthcare professionals continue to do their jobs in an extremely difficult, tedious, and risky environment—and they need our help. 


So, what can we do? How can we pivot our products and services to meet these challenges? As the pandemic intensified, we immediately identified our MedSitter offering as a remedy.

As a virtual patient observation solution, the MedSitter idea began as a way to help improve the 1:1 patient observation ratio. Generally used as a means to reduce falls, using MedSitter as an infectious disease mitigator was always a potential use case, but only used on occasion. Well, the reality of the situation is here now, and it’s been our mission implement MedSitter onto the front lines as quickly as possible.

As an example of what’s possible, let’s take a look at Reid Health. They’ve been using MedSitter since October 2019, just before the pandemic surfaced. In a joint release from Wayne County Health Department and Reid Health, “This system [MedSitter] is in place with the current patient and has been successful in minimizing staff exposure,” said Misti Foust-Cofield, Reid Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer.

Other Benefits Expressed by MedSitter Customers:

  1. Manage risk associated with infectious disease exposure
  2. Reduce PPE usage
  3. Reduce patient social isolation
  4. Allocate tasks between appropriate staff levels
  5. Overall increase staff and patient safety

How It Works:

  1. Set up a patient observation station which can remotely observe up to 10 patients simultaneously
  2. Place MedSitter Mobile Cart in rooms with patient
  3. Onboard patients into the MedSitter platform
  4. Observe and communicate with patients via video and audio features, notify staff when needed

How To Get Started:

  1. Schedule a demonstration with your MedSitter Project Team – work closely with your regional account manager, clinical services and technical implementation team
  2. Purchase a MedSitter system as a monthly subscription – no upfront capital required
  3. Onboard and train your staff with our Rapid Response Implementation™ Program – units arrive completely assembled and ready for remote activation


We know we’ve only covered half of the problem. When asked about what worries them the most, doctors and nurses agree; more than their own safety, the most difficult aspect of this situation is having to watch their COVID-19 patients suffer from social isolation. Nurses are scrambling with smartphones and iPads to connect people with their loved ones, but MedSitter can do better—much better. It’s a new development, and we can’t wait to tell you about it.