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Phoebe Introduces New Technology to Help Ensure Patient Safety


Albany, Ga. – Nationally, almost one million patients suffer falls in hospitals each year, often sustaining injuries that lengthen their stay and complicate their recovery. To help reduce the number of falls and injuries, Phoebe has implemented new technology, the AvaSys TeleSitter, which allows medical staff to both observe and talk with patients who are at a high risk of falling.

“This new system emphasizes our commitment to quality and safety for our patients,” said Chief Nursing Officer Evelyn Olenick, DNP, RN. “It is the first line of defense for patients at risk, allowing staff to immediately and directly intervene when a patient is at risk of self-harm.”

Many falls occur when patients try to get out of bed, either to use the restroom or walk around independently. Fall injuries range from scrapes and bruises to broken bones or serious head injuries. The AvaSys TeleSitter is equipped with an infrared camera and two-way audio. The Telesitters are set up in rooms of patients identified to be at high risk for falls. Trained staff monitor live feeds from those rooms at a central station 24 hours a day 7 days a week. If a patient tries to get out of bed, the observer can interact with the patient with a gentle reminder to wait for assistance or can sound an alarm for immediate staff attention.

“On the first day we were able to effectively alarm staff of a near miss that could have been a potential fall for one of our patients. The extra layer of safety the system provides is exactly what our vulnerable patients need,” continued Olenick.

Patients in imminent danger receive a STAT alarm, which signals staff to head quickly to the patient’s room. During February, the system’s first full month of use at Phoebe, our trained observers initiated 309 STAT alarms that helped prevent potential falls. 

The cameras do not record, and there are privacy options to temporarily block visibility when necessary. Phoebe, the only Georgia hospital outside Atlanta that has implemented this technology, currently has 12 AvaSys TeleSitters monitoring patients at Main and North campuses.

The new technology does not replace any of the current safety measures Phoebe uses. All at-risk patients are identified with yellow or red arm bands, and they wear skid-resistant socks. The clinical staff creates the safest possible environment for patients by keeping personal items and call buttons within reach, setting beds in the lowest position and making sure rooms are uncluttered.

PHOTO CAPTION: A Phoebe nurse is on her way to deliver one of the new TeleSitters to a patient’s room.