Contribution of Continuous Virtual Monitoring to Hospital Safety, Quality, and Value of Care for COVID-19 Patients

Telemed J E Health. 2023 Feb;29(2):293-297. doi: 10.1089/tmj.2022.0061. Epub 2022 Jun 16.


Introduction: The rapid onset of the COVID-19 pandemic increased hospital admissions and shortages for personal protective equipment (PPE) used to slow the spread of infections. In addition, nurses treating COVID-19 patients have time-consuming guidelines to properly don and doff PPE to prevent the spread. Methods: To address these issues, the Medical University of South Carolina repurposed continuous virtual monitoring (CVM) systems to reduce the need for staff to enter patient rooms. The objective of this study was to identify the economic implications associated with using the CVM program for COVID-19 patients. We employed a time-driven activity-based costing approach to determine time and costs saved by implementing CVM. Results: Over the first 52 days of the pandemic, the use of the CVM system helped providers attend to patients needs virtually while averting 19,086 unnecessary in-person interactions. The estimated cost savings for the CVM program for COVID-19 patients in 2020 were $419,319, not including potential savings from avoided COVID-19 transmissions to health care workers. A total of 19,086 PPE changes were avoided, with savings of $186,661. After accounting for cost of the CVM system, the net savings provided an outstanding return on investment of 20.6 for the CVM program for COVID-19 patient care. Conclusion: The successful and cost saving repurposing of CVM systems could be expanded to other infectious disease applications, and be applied to high-risk groups, such as bone marrow and organ transplant patients.

Keywords: COVID-19; continual virtual monitoring; cost savings; telehealth; telemedicine; time-driven activity-based costing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Telemedicine*