Virtual Hospitalist Service for Rural Hospitals

Doctor with patient and hospitalist observing through computer

Rural hospitals throughout Iowa have an opportunity to enhance patient care and keep patients in their community through an innovative telemedicine service with the University of Iowa. The Virtual Hospitalist Service uses telemedicine to provide co-management of patients from the emergency department to inpatient units at a regional hospital. Local providers and nurses collaborate with a UI hospitalist through secure video conferencing and a shared electronic health record (EHR).

Using the University’s Virtual Hospitalist Service

  • Providers and nurses in the local hospital collaborate with a UI hospitalist—a physician focused on inpatient care—in Iowa City through secure video conferencing and a shared electronic health record (EHR).
  • Use of a shared EHR enables providers at both locations to review a patient’s health information, allowing real-time collaboration and clinical decision making.
  • Together, the team provides specialty care for patients in the emergency department and inpatient units of the rural hospital, through twice-daily virtual rounding and virtual consults.
  • With the local provider at their side, inpatients use a tablet to communicate face-to-face with the UI hospitalist daily.

Why choose the University of Iowa’s Virtual Hospitalist Service?

  • The service is staffed by experienced faculty providers who provide high-quality education and the latest developments in inpatient medicine.
  • The local provider is empowered with the necessary resources to maintain care of patients when they may have otherwise transferred to another facility.
  • Keeping patients closer to home enables families to better support their loved one while in the hospital, reduces travel time, and improves continuity of care.
  • When a patient transfer is necessary, the Virtual Hospitalist Service ensures that the patient experiences a smooth transition of care from the local hospital to University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.
  • Once transferred, the patient is treated in person by the same hospitalist team who co-managed their care locally. This streamlined process reduces diagnostic and treatment timelines and leads to improved patient outcomes and recovery.

The Virtual Hospitalist Service is a digital health product from the University of Iowa Health Care and The Signal Center for Health Innovation.