Telehealth Researchby Dr. Janet Grady
The Nursing Telehealth Applications Initiative (NTAI) is a research effort focused on defining and testing leading-edge telehealth clinical and educational methodologies that serve to positively influence nursing education, the nursing shortage and the delivery of enriched education and learning experiences to healthcare providers in new and innovative ways.
The project is funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR) and is congruent with the ONR mission which is to inspire and guide innovation that will provide technology-based options for future military
capabilities. The inception of the NTAI was a result of the nursing shortage and the need to deliver health care and education more efficiently and effectively. The use of telehealth technology has
demonstrated the ability to extend the reach of health care providers and constitutes an opportunity to improve healthcare outcomes and learning experiences.
There are three components that occur in parallel throughout the course of the NTAI project. The integration of telehealth and information technologies into the nursing curriculum is a focus at the College. Clinical trials conducted to investigate innovative strategies that may improve health
outcomes while positively impacting the nursing shortage and health care resource utilization take place in collaboration with healthcare facilities such as Conemaugh Home Health and the Conemaugh Diabetes Institute in Johnstown, PA. The U.S. Military component involves the transfer of lessons learned that are applicable to the military healthcare system as well as education and training requirements.
The NTAI is sponsored by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine located in Rockville, MD. Dr. Janet L. Grady, Chairperson of the Division of Nursing at Mount Aloysius College, is the director of the project. Other project staff includes a Project Coordinator, Research Associate, Nursing Lab Coordinator, Network Engineer, and an Administrative Assistant.
The Telenursing Department is located on the 3rd floor of the Main Administration Building at Mount Aloysius. The department consists of four nursing skill labs, a computer lab, classrooms, and staff offices. Nursing simulation labs are set up to mirror hospitals, clinics, or homes where nursing care is delivered. High-fidelity mannequins are used in the labs to provide students with a real-world learning arena in which nursing procedures, based on critical thinking and supported by decision-making
information technologies, are practiced in a safe environment.
One room, designated the Smart Classroom, is equipped with videoconferencing technology, broadband connections, a multi-media podium, overhead video projector, and portable cameras to enhance the learning experience. It has been the site of the Virtual Clinical Practicum (VCP) research. The VCP concept was developed as a result of challenges faced by nursing educators including limited clinical practice sites, especially in rural areas. Through the use of telehealth and information technologies, the VCP allows students to observe and participate in patient-care related activities and access experts not available to them locally. Over the past two years, the technology solutions for the VCP have progressed in an effort to mprove the experience. Initially, twoway audio and video was provided to
link the Intensive Care Unit at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. and the nursing students at the College. Recently, a multi-site VCP was conducted between the Burn Unit at the U.S. Army Institute for Surgical Research in Fort Sam Houston, Texas and students at Mount Aloysius plus three other colleges in Maine and Pennsylvania. A web-based network was used to provide a live,
interactive, enhanced learning experience. The ultimate goal of this research is to determine a "best practice" VCP concept that is acceptable to nursing regulatory bodies as an adjunct to standard