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Ochsner's Plan to Optimize the Workforce Through Innovation

Analysis  |  By G Hatfield  
   July 01, 2024

New technologies like ambient listening are poised to revolutionize the nursing workforce.

As many health systems begin their virtual nursing journey, they must determine what technology they will use and how it will evolve over time.

Tiffany Murdock, chief nursing officer at Ochsner Health, described the current technology that the health system is using for virtual nursing, and how they plan to optimize their workforce through new innovations.

Murdock is a part of the HealthLeaders Virtual Nursing Mastermind program, in which several health systems are discussing the ins and outs of their virtual nursing programs and their goals for implementing this new strategy.

Advancing the program

Ochsner's virtual nursing initiative has been in place since 2018, and according to Murdock, the current goal is to optimize the workforce through innovation.

"We have an Innovation Ochsner lab that helps us try to find different products," Murdock said, "and then we try to develop our own, too."

So far, the technology in use ranges from iPads to fixed, in-room technology, depending on the hospital. According to Murdock, hospitals in the health system are at different stages of technological advancement, so the needs are different in each one.

Some of the technology is also being repurposed. Many of the fixed screens that were once used solely for documentation now have multiple uses.

"People can come in and out of e-consults through those as well," Murdock said. "We're just trying to figure out what works at each of our different campuses because we have different types of hospitals."

Looking to the future

The ultimate goal is to give time back to the nurse at the bedside by streamlining the extra tasks that nurses often have to complete.

"All the little tasks that take the time away from the nurse to [practice at] the very highest scope will be taken by the virtual nurse," Murdock said.

According to Murdock, ambient listening is on the list of innovations that Ochsner wants to incorporate alongside virtual nursing. 

"I am so excited about the thought of even [something like] an Alexa," Murdock said, "a patient [could be] able to close their blinds, turn their lights on, adjust their air, [or] search different things."

Ochsner is also trying to incorporate devices that can take vital signs and be integrated into the rest of the technology. That way, CNAs would not have to come in and take vital signs every two to four hours, Murdock explained.

However, to Murdock, ambient listening will be the key.

"I think that will be a complete change in practice," Murdock said, "because you really will be able to document an assessment and not have to look at a screen, which I think will…change the way we practice."

The HealthLeaders Mastermind series is an exclusive series of calls and events with healthcare executives. This Virtual Nursing Mastermind series features ideas, solutions, and insights on excelling your virtual nursing program. Please join the community at our LinkedIn page.

To inquire about participating in an upcoming Mastermind series or attending a HealthLeaders Exchange event, email us at

G Hatfield is the nursing editor for HealthLeaders.


Ochsner's goal is to give even more time back to nurses by incorporating new technologies alongside their virtual nursing program.

Vital sign devices and ambient listening technology will help offload the burden of documentation and allow nurses to practice at a higher scope.

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