Technology backed by data analytics allows for quick assessment of patients to streamline access to care
Creating a satisfactory patient experience depends on many pieces fitting together across a complex system. Teletriage uses technology to streamline workflow and provide benefits to both patients and clinicians.
No one wants to be sick or injured. Patients want care that can get them back to their busy lives as quickly as possible. Sometimes it is hard to know whether a situation is an emergency or if it can be handled by an urgent care or a clinic. Teletriage services can put patients face-to-face with a physician to either dramatically reduce the door-to-doc time for patients at the hospital or assess lower acuity patients from their homes.
Reduced Wait Times
Due to high volume and a shortage of emergency department providers, ED wait times can often be hours long. In fact, a recent study of average ER wait times by state found the longest was 228 minutes.
While it’s necessary to provide care in order of severity of illness, spending long hours in a stuffy waiting room is not good for either patient experience or the already-stressed health care team. By adding remote physicians to the staffing mix via teletriage, patients can be seen quickly, regardless of how busy the ED is so that tests can be ordered sooner, a care plan can be established, and lower acuity patients can be discharged sooner. This moves patients through the system rapidly and allows the entire clinical team to function more efficiently.
In EDs, technology is playing other prominent roles in reducing wait times, for example, the use of data to provide faster, more accurate triaging and diagnoses. A robust data analytics tool can refine the data many hospitals already collect to help decision-makers identify bottlenecks, unnecessary testing, and more precisely schedule the right mix of resources both on premise and virtual.
More One-On-One Physician Contact
A public opinion survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) revealed that nearly 8 out of 10 (79%) adults prefer a physician to lead their care and would be concerned if a physician were unavailable to lead care in the ED during their emergency. While many organizations have necessarily supplemented staff with nurse practitioners and physician assistants, this tactic may harm patient experience results in the long run.
With teletriage services, patients can see and speak with a physician to initiate the care plan, which can then be followed by other clinicians as needed. The right software, such as that provided by EmOpti, combines on-site with remote resources to load balance capacity across facilities while giving patients the physician contact that research tells us they prefer.
Avoiding Physician Burnout
2020 and 2021 were especially difficult for physicians. Dealing with COVID stress, reduced staffing, and long hours with little time off took a toll. In a recent study by Medscape, 60% of emergency medicine physicians reported burnout, more than any other specialty. The report directly quoted some physicians on the reasons for burnout:
“I barely spend enough time with most patients, just running from one to the next; and then after work, I spend hours documenting, charting, dealing with reports. I feel like an overpaid clerk.”
“Staff calls in sick; we’re all running around trying to find things and get things done. It never ends.”
Giving hardworking physicians the time and resources they need to treat patients more effectively is not only good for their mental well-being, but it also increases patient safety. Using teletriage provides patients with more timely diagnoses and treatments while reducing the risk of experiencing an adverse event due to delayed assessment and treatment.
ED volume will likely always be volatile because of the nature of unscheduled acute care, but teletriage can provide surge protection, dynamically load balance resources, and provide patients with better quality care. Contact d2i for more information about how our solutions help you speed patient flow, improve resource utilization, and reduce burnout.