At the beginning of March 2020, Susan Murphy, BSN, MS, RN, had to think on the fly about how to restore the connection hospitalized patients had lost because of COVID-19.

Susan Murphy, RN Murphy, the chief experience officer at UChicago Medicine, said visiting hours stopped abruptly but patients’ needs for human connection remained.

“That was a pretty traumatic day,” Murphy said. “We had to go to every room and tell visitors they couldn’t come back and weren’t sure when they could (return).”

Connection Lost and Found

Emotional support and alleviation of fear and anxiety along with involvement of family and friends are two principles of patient-centered care, according to research from Harvard Medical School.

Murphy and her team came up with how they could use existing technology to address those principles that would allow patients to maintain contact with staff inside the hospital and loved ones outside the walls.

They used the hospital’s existing Vocera Care Experience technology, which is a virtual voice-capturing tool that staff use when rounding to document and track patients’ experiences. But instead of going into patients’ rooms during the pandemic, hospital staff used the technology to call patients in their rooms every day to check in and see how they were doing.

These weren’t clinical calls, according to Murphy. Rather, staff asked patients how they were feeling emotionally during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Murphy calls it human-centered care.

Staff also provided iPads to patients in their rooms, so the patients could use them to communicate with loved ones via Zoom, FaceTime, or another platform.


Read more from the original article on