Located at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore and launched in the summer of 2019, LifeBridge Health’s Virtual Hospital employs digital technology to improve medical care coordination and efficiency.
The hospital combines a clinical command center, telemedicine services and international clinical call centers. Together, they allow LifeBridge Health, the fourth-largest health system in Maryland, to coordinate visits remotely to patients in their homes, arrange transportation to the hospital if necessary and find the right location in the hospital for their care.
A primary goal of the virtual hospital was to decrease wait times, and so far, it’s succeeded. In a pilot project of the service at Northwest Hospital’s emergency department last year, the average door-to-door provider time plummeted from one hour and 26 minutes to 26 minutes, a decrease of 69%.
“The ultimate goal of LifeBridge Health’s virtual facility is to make it easier for patients to receive quality care, which allows health care experts to see more people in less time and thereby care for more individuals overall,” said Dr. Jonathan Thierman, chief medical information officer for LifeBridge Health and medical director for the LifeBridge Health Virtual Hospital.
“These advantages, driven by technology, also bring down costs due to the increased efficiency of the health care process.”
The virtual hospital has been a boon in the coronavirus pandemic. It has allowed doctors to determine remotely who needed to come to the hospital for care and who could recover at home.