Virtual hospital care development and deployment: A rapid qualitative study of frontline clinicians and leaders

Link to article at PubMed

J Hosp Med. 2024 Apr 25. doi: 10.1002/jhm.13380. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: Virtual hospitalist programs are rapidly growing in popularity due to worsening clinician shortages and increased pressure for flexible work options. These programs also have the potential to establish sustainable staffing models across multiple hospitals optimizing cost. We aimed to explore the current state of virtual hospitalist services at various health systems, challenges and opportunities that exist in providing virtual care, and future opportunities for these types of services.

OBJECTIVES: To identify perspectives on design and implementation of virtual hospitalist programs from academic hospitalist leaders.

METHODS: We conducted focus groups with United States academic hospitalist leaders. Semistructured interviews explored experiences with virtual hospitalist programs. Using rapid qualitative methods including templated summaries and matrix analysis, focus group recordings were analyzed to identify key themes.

RESULTS: We conducted four focus groups with 13 participants representing nine hospital systems across six geographic regions and range of experience with virtual hospital medicine care. Thematic analysis identified three themes: (1) a broad spectrum of virtual care delivery; (2) adoption and acceptance of virtual care models followed the stages of diffusion of innovation; and (3) sustainability and scalability of programs were affected by unclear finances.

CONCLUSIONS: Hospitalist leader perspectives revealed complex factors influencing virtual care adoption and implementation. Addressing concerns about care quality, financing, and training may accelerate adoption. Further research should clarify the best practices for sustainable models optimized for access, hospitalist experience, patient safety, and financial viability.

PMID:38664935 | DOI:10.1002/jhm.13380

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