The Virtual Chaplain Connection

Sibley Chaplain Robin Walker demonstrates the new ChapChat videoconferencing software.

Sibley Chaplain Robin Walker demonstrates the new ChapChat videoconferencing software.

Being housed in the only hospital in the D.C. metropolitan area with an Innovation Hub, Sibley’s chaplaincy care team has the opportunity to reconfigure hope in new and exciting ways. We have recently developed a new way to journey with our patients: ChapChat, a virtual chaplain connection much like Skype or FaceTime.

As care providers, we know many patients come through our doors experiencing a variety of medical obstacles. As a team, we are concerned with the spiritual and emotional healing of patients. Working with the Innovation Hub, our team has set up a secure videoconferencing platform which will allow our patients to request an e-chaplain appointment by dialing in using a secure link. Inpatients are then connected by video with the staff chaplain using a hospital-issued iPad. Upon request, outpatients will be issued a secure web link to connect to the staff chaplain from home. ChapChat allows up to three participants to conference into the session, which can allow family in a different city or state to be part of the spiritual care conversation. 

Our team has also embraced the "Lean" culture. Sibley’s ChapChat enables us to reach our patients with the ministry of presence when our patients need us most, within minutes, not hours. As a Lean initiative, ChapChat will operate as a cost saving initiative, too, reducing the necessity for a chaplain to physically be on site after-hours and by allowing outpatients to have continued spiritual care without being in the facility.

ChapChat, the virtual chaplain connection, will be available in fall 2016 for our oncology and palliative care inpatient and outpatient population. 

This article was written by care team writers Teressa Eggleston, Wesley Arning, Paulette A. McPherson and Robin P. Walker. For more information, please contact Chaplain Robin Walker at 202 537 4258 or smh-chapchat@jhmi.edu.