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Virtual Nursing ROI, Buy-In are Top of Mind for Nurse Leaders

Analysis  |  By G Hatfield  
   June 06, 2024

Health systems are brainstorming new ideas for how to build and improve virtual nursing programs.

The Virtual Nursing Mastermind program participants are meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, to discuss the ins and outs of implementing virtual nursing programs.

The program consists of CNOs and other nurse and technology leaders from 12 health systems across the country who are all at various stages in their virtual nursing journeys, and who are innovating with new technologies and solutions.


One of the biggest hurdles for virtual nursing is program adoption and implementation. The participants discussed how to gain buy-in from the other C-suite members, particularly the CFO and CIO, and how to introduce the program to the nursing workforce.

There's also a call for defining terms, which the participants say will help with buy-in. The participants were clear that "nursing" needs to come out of "virtual nursing." The tasks being done virtually, like certain documentation functions, do not necessarily need to be completed by a nurse. Health systems should be looking at other departments or positions who can complete those types of processes. This new technology will also enable many other departments in the health systems to also use the platforms for their various needs.

The participants also shared how they have operationally set up their virtual nursing programs. Many have centralized hubs with dedicated buildings where their virtual nurses are based, and others have virtual nurses working from home. The participants noted that they believe virtual nurses need to be at least technologically proficient to take on the position and that those working from home have a private space they can use with a reliable internet connection.

Lessons learned

ROI and improved clinical outcomes are a crucial piece of the puzzle. The participants spoke about what outcomes and efficiencies they are seeing so far and the metrics they are using to track progress. Some of the top metrics include timely discharges, turnover rates, incremental overtime, HCAHPS, and other nurse sensitive quality indicators.

Every health system is going to have different needs and different ways to measure ROI, so according to the participants, it is important to start with a metric like timely discharges. Leaders should look at traditionally "soft" ROI metrics and assign dollars to them so that the rest of the C-suite will get on board with implementing virtual care programs. Additionally, if a system is going to launch a virtual care pilot, it should directly address the chosen ROI metric that will solve the problems that the health system is focusing on.

The participants said the possibilities are endless with virtual nursing technology. The programs are set to expand well beyond just documentation and more into patient monitoring, nurse mentorship, and into more forms of digital care. The ultimate goal is to leverage virtual technology to create sustainable care models of the future.

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.


Virtual nursing will enable health systems to open up a whole new workforce and expand virtual care throughout other departments.

The biggest metric that other health systems can use to prove ROI for virtual nursing is timely discharges.

Virtual care initiatives should address the needs of the health system and focus on one or two metrics to prove ROI.

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