While American companies like Medically Home continue to develop the virtual hospital here in the USA, we’re not the only country interested in patient-centric care at home. Global interest in the virtual hospital idea grew and was further discussed and developed from April 5-6 in the Spanish city of Madrid when the World Hospital At Home Congress was conducted. Over 400 delegates from over 40 nations attended.
Blazing Trails In Patient-Centric Care
Because the virtual hospital is a model still in the pioneering stage, there’s lots of ground to cover at the World Congress. Attended by clinicians, nurses, and nurse practitioners, the World Hospital At Home Congress hosted professionals from the entire healthcare spectrum from all over the globe.
The topics covered a broad range. Introductory seminars to explain patient-centric care at home for those unfamiliar were available. More detailed discussions focused on ideal situations for virtual hospital care, including deployment of virtual hospitals during epidemics to ensure patients remained at home and prevented further exposure to contagion.
Experienced virtual hospital proponents such as pioneer Dr. Bruce Leff also attended the Congress. He contributed to and moderated many topics. One area of discussion he moderated was further research and statistical compilation of data, and whether more measures, such as randomized controlled trials, were necessary to get better data.
Other topics touched on technical considerations for successful virtual hospital implementation, including the need to manage the IT infrastructure. Debates about handling and access to patient medical files for efficiency, while maintaining privacy were also a concern. Many findings and data from other countries including Australia and France shared their own experiences with virtual hospital endeavors.
The Spirit Of Growth
One repeated theme during the Congress was how much “uncharted territory” there is for virtual hospitals. As a new model there are a number of areas open to refinement including diagnostic methods for determining which patients are suitable for patient-centric care at home. Standard protocols for visiting nurses and doctors when they treat patients at home also need further development. Another important topic was the level of instruction appropriate for patients to allow some measure of self-medicating/treatment, or even diagnosis for more independence while at home. Finding the appropriate level would decrease reliance on waiting for professional intervention.
On the whole, the World Hospital At Home Congress was a fruitful two days that raised important questions and helped virtual hospital proponent from all over the world to share, learn and grow among each other for better approaches in the future.