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Virtual Visits Cut NewYork-Presbyterian ER Wait Times

July 31, 2017
by David Raths
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Mobile unit brings specialized care to patients who may be having a stroke

With the rollout of a Telehealth Express Care virtual visit service, NewYork-Presbyterian (NYP) Hospital says emergency room wait times at its Weill Cornell Medical Center have been cut in half.

Average ER wait times for low-acuity patients used to mean a 2- or 2.5-hour wait, but now the Express Care Service can get patients from arrival to discharge in 35 to 40 minutes.

Virtual visits take place in private rooms and feature a webcam/monitor that helps to expedite emergency room care for patients with minor ailments, such as wound checks, upper respiratory infections, contusions, suture removals and simple rashes, instead of only relying on traditional low-acuity care, according to NYP.

After virtual visit, patients are promptly given discharge instructions, allowing them to avoid a lengthy checkout process. As of June 2017, approximately 2,800 patients have used this service.

NYP also has created an OnDemand Virtual Urgent Care App, which allows patients to see a board-certified physician from home via live videoconference.

In another innovation related to emergency care, last fall NYP rolled out a Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU), an emergency vehicle specially equipped to provide immediate, specialized care to patients who may be having a stroke.

Staffed by a team of two paramedics from the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City, a computed tomography (CT) technologist and a neurologist, the MSTU is designed to significantly reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to the delivery of care, a crucial factor in improving stroke outcomes.

The unit also contains equipment and medications specific to diagnosing and treating strokes, including a medication called tPA, which dissolves the clot and improves blood flow to the part of the brain being deprived of blood in the event of an ischemic stroke. It is complete with a portable CT scanner that can image the patient’s brain on the spot to detect if the patient is having a stroke. The CT scan is then wirelessly transmitted to NewYork-Presbyterian, where it is evaluated by a neuroradiologist.

NYP is researching the impact of the MSTU on patient outcomes at 90 days; the percentage of patients treated on the MSTU who made a full recovery compared with those delivered by standard EMS transport; and the overall cost of care.






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