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Case Study

How CHI Health Implemented a Virtual Expert Nurse Staffing Model

10 Minute Read


The challenge

Most nurses operate in a primary staffing model, in which each nurse is solely responsible for their assigned patients. But this model doesn’t suit the needs of either novice or expert nurses. Novice nurses deliver care without formal oversight by their expert RN peers, which can harm quality and safety. At the same time, expert RNs tire of the physicality of bedside care delivery and may opt to leave the organization entirely.

The organization

CHI Health is a 14-hospital health system headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, within the CommonSpirit Health enterprise.

The approach

In 2014, the system CNO at CHI Health worked with technology vendor Banyan Medical Services to introduce a virtual expert nurse role on inpatient units. This role allows the units to scale nursing expertise over a team-based staffing model while retaining expert RNs.

The result

The virtual team-based staffing model helps organizations adjust their skill mix, reducing labor costs. This model also helps improve care coordination and new nurse retention.



CHI Health used virtual expert nursing to scale nurse expertise and increase inpatient productivity

In 2014, CHI Health created a virtual expert nurse role to scale nursing experience over inpatient units. This document focuses on the three components of this staffing model.

  • Component

    Create virtual nurse role

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  • Component

    Equip virtual nurses with a telemedicine platform and real-time clinical data

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  • Component

    Adjust staff workflow to support virtual nurses

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Banyan Medical Services, CHI Health’s vendor, reported a 175-bed hospital realized a labor savings of $4.7 million after instituting the virtual expert nurse staffing model. This is magnified by a cost reduction due to improved quality outcomes, resulting in a total savings of $12.8 million.

Other organizations using Banyan’s technology have also reportedly decreased turnover among new nurses, while the virtual expert team staffing model improved care coordination across the organization.


Total projected savings for CHI Health
based on Banyan reported labor savings and CHI Health’s savings from improved
quality outcomes. 

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