Table 2

Use cases for video visits between patients and loved ones

Tertiary hospitalCounty hospitalVA
No of patients connected in 6 weeks*15625545
Common use casesFor hospitalised patients to connect directly with families
For medical updates and decision-making
For end-of-life care
For caregiver teaching
For orienting delirious patients
For example, patient with respiratory failure talked to children prior to intubation
For example, physician interfaced with multiple family members, consulting teams, and patient at bedside to discuss goals
For example, multiple family members virtually present during compassionate extubation
For example, nurse taught family caregivers how to administer enoxaparin
For example, elderly patient became less agitated after seeing husband
Unique use casesFor connecting patients to alternative avenues of support
For example, patient with cirrhosis attended virtual alcoholics anonymous meetings while awaiting liver transplant
For physical and occupational therapists to motivate patients
For example, patient practised exercises with her husband daily; therapists were able to gather a more informed baseline from family
For enabling international calls for patients’ families
For example, family members from three countries prayed together with a patient over video call when she transitioned to comfort care
For language translation
For example, family member translated for a patient who spoke a dialect not understood by hospital interpreters
For engaging patients in affiliated nursing facility (ie, community living centre)
For example, using tablets for combination of educational games, books and videos for patients
For enabling patients to pay bills while hospitalised
For example, patients paid bills at home with the help of medical students and social workers
Provider impact quotesNurses are distressed with the visitor restrictions causing moral injury for patients and themselves… these video capabilities have helped ease the burden’—ICU unit director‘We had video calls last night (with a family) before the patient passed… I’ve been doing this for 40 years and what’s going on with the visitor restrictions keeps me up at night.’—ICU nurse‘An elderly admitted patient would barely engage with hospital staff. I set up a video call with his daughter, and he became more animated and talkative than I had ever seen him.’—Resident physician
  • *Does not include number of video visits completed for patients with provider-driven and nursing-driven workflow.

  • ICU, intensive care unit; VA, veterans administration.