St. Louis Children’s Hospital partners with the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis to deliver compassionate and specialized care to children throughout the region.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, St. Louis Children’s Hospital put infection prevention measures into effect immediately — including reducing the number of external visitors allowed inside the hospital. Although that course of action addressed infection prevention safety concerns, it posed a serious challenge with pediatric patients, especially those with serious chronic conditions requiring complicated long-term care. Stuart Sweet, MD, Director of the Pediatric Lung Transplant Program, explains:
“With pediatric patients who are in the hospital for long-term care and surgery, their parents, family members, and pediatrician need to be involved in their care conversations. Pediatric patients can’t advocate for themselves, and their caregivers need to be kept in the loop on their status and progress so they can contribute to discussions around the course of treatment.”
Before COVID-19, patients were able to video conference with family members, but there weren’t any processes in place to connect care providers and families virtually. That all changed when the hospital was challenged to think about safe and creative ways to keep daily patient rounds interactive while keeping patients and staff as safe as possible during the pandemic.
St. Louis Children’s Hospital began using the Meeting Owl Pro during patient rounds on the hospital’s pulmonary unit so patients’ parents and family members could be a part of care conversations without being physically present. By holding patient rounds virtually, St. Louis Children’s Hospital was able to continue its mission of patient-centered care even when their families couldn’t be at their bedsides.
As Dr. Sweet puts it:
“Even before COVID-19, one of our fundamental guiding principles was that rounds are family-centered. At all patient rounds at Children's, parents have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the discussion about their child’s care. We’re intentional about making sure they can provide input and ask questions, with the goal of maintaining a foundation of care no matter where people are located, which a virtual meeting format helps us achieve.”
The Meeting Owl Pro connected to a medical cart via extendable articulating arm
By conducting virtual patient rounds with the Meeting Owl Pro, St. Louis Children’s Hospital is able to continue to provide compassionate patient-centered care to pediatric patients, including family involvement, while maintaining social distancing best practices.
According to Dr. Sweet, “A virtual platform allows the patient's hospital team, primary care physician, and the patient's family to still participate in rounds and care discussions to deliver better care when they wouldn't otherwise be able to because of physical distance.”
The Meeting Owl Pro set up on a tripod
In the future, Dr. Sweet hopes the technology can help keep providers connected across the large hospital and academic campuses in St. Louis and enable primary care providers to be involved in acute and long-term care plans.
Dr. Sweet explains: “Even in times when you don't need to do social distancing, there are instances when we would like to bring people into the hospital environment who are participants in patient care but can't be there in person, such as working parents, referring physicians, and primary care providers. Normally, they don't have an opportunity to talk to the whole team, but a virtual platform can remove that distance barrier.”
To learn more about how other organizations use the Meeting Owl, read more of our case studies.