Hospitals turn to 'virtual visiting' as COVID spreads

Hennepin Heathcare adds iPads and Zoom to keep patients in touch with family
Hospitals turn to 'virtual visiting' as COVID spreads
Photo credit Photo provided by Hennepin Healthcare

With local hospitals limiting and stopping visitations because of surging COVID cases in Minnesota, health care systems are turning to technology to keep patients connected with their families.

Hennepin Healthcare is using iPads and Zoom links to keep family connected to not only the patient, but to doctors and nurses as well.

"As doctors, we're not just healing the body, we're healing the mind as well," said Dr. Deepti Pandita, Chief Health Information Officer for Hennepin Healthcare. "This is one way where we can heal the mind, because family connections are so important."

Dr. Pandita says during the early months of the pandemic, sadly some patients died without being able to be with their loved ones. She says while an iPad cannot replace personal touch in the final moments of life, it is the best option right now.

"Through the iPad, they can actually virtually be there, sort of a virtual hand-holding."

All hospital beds at Hennepin Healthcare have an iPad and Zoom connection available, and translation is available so that non-English speaking family members can stay updated from doctors and nurses.