Published on August 03, 2023

Owensboro Health Launches Innovative Virtual Observation Program

With staffing levels still on the rebound after the pandemic, it continues to be challenging to monitor patients who require extra attention or are at risk for falls. But new technology at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital puts extra care at the bedside. The hospital has recently implemented the MedSitter virtual care platform and clinical surveillance system.


MedSitter is a virtual clinical observation solution designed to enhance patient safety and healthcare efficiency. By enabling clinicians to manage and monitor patients effectively, MedSitter alleviates the burden on nursing staff and reduces the reliance on one-to-one in-person observation. Implementing MedSitter in healthcare facilities like Owensboro Health Regional Hospital improves operational outcomes and supports a more human-centric healthcare environment, aligning with the pressing need to address challenges like staff burnout and the ongoing nursing shortage.

This announcement comes at a crucial time, as nursing shortages continue to pose challenges in healthcare facilities nationwide. By utilizing the MedSitter virtual care platform, Owensboro Health aims to alleviate stress on its nursing staff while maintaining the highest level of patient care.

Ten MedSitter carts will leverage the expertise of MedSitter staff and ensure patient safety using a two-way audio-visual interface. Using that technology, a MedSitter professional can observe patients who are at risk of a safety event.

Having someone continually observing at-risk patients ensures timely intervention and reduces the risk of adverse events such as a fall. This state-of-the-art system enables healthcare professionals to remotely observe patients, detect early warning signs, and intervene when necessary.

Jacob Kittinger, Owensboro Health Manager of Clinical Support, expects the new system to help fill the need for in-room observers. When the care team onboards the patient to MedSitter, they share information about the patient’s behaviors and what to look out for.

“The observer’s first action would be redirecting the patient verbally,” Kittinger said. “If they can’t, and they feel like there’s an impending event like the patient is about to fall, they will actually trigger a local alarm. It sets off a blue light and a loud auditory alarm. And if it’s less urgent, they have the mobile number for our nurses, so they can report whatever they find necessary.”

Owensboro Health Regional Hospital has approximately 15 in-person observers to observe patients, so adding 10 virtual observers nearly doubles their capacity. One MedSitter professional can watch up to 10 patients at a time, and they are dedicated individuals specifically for Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.

The monitor on the cart displays a virtual fish tank on the screen when patients aren’t interacting with the observer, and members of the Owensboro Health care team can turn on privacy mode if it’s time for patients to be bathed or changed.

The 10 MedSitter devices can be used anywhere they’re needed in the hospital, just like an extension of the staff. Team members follow a checklist to ensure that in-person and virtual observers are used where needed.

Owensboro Health is dedicated to finding innovative ways to care for patients and provide the best experience possible for patients and their families, even in changing times.

About Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health is a nonprofit health system with a mission to heal the sick and to improve the health of the communities it serves in Kentucky and Indiana. The system includes Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, nationally recognized for design, architecture and engineering; Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital; Owensboro Health Twin Lakes Medical Center; the Owensboro Health Medical Group comprised of over 350 providers at more than 30 locations; three outpatient Healthplex facilities, a certified medical fitness facility, the Healthpark; a weight management program, and the Mitchell Memorial Cancer Center.

On average each year, we have more than 19,000 inpatient admissions, deliver 2,000 babies and provide the region’s only Level III NICU. Owensboro Health physicians perform nearly 33,000 surgical procedures, including nearly 150 open-heart surgeries. Our physicians and staff have 90,000 Emergency Department visits and more than 1.25 million outpatient visits annually. Visit our home page for more information.