Essential Insights contributor, healthcare writer
Emergency departments—or what’s commonly referred to as Emergency Rooms (ERs)—in the United States see a lot of traffic. Every year, approximately 20 percent of Americans (or 130+ million people) visit an ER, even though they are not the optimal place for most types of care.
Overextended doctors and nurses and a host of non-urgent cases mean high demand, long wait times and long overall lengths of stay at ERs, resulting in a considerable amount of strain on the healthcare system as a whole.
The rapidly emerging practice of telehealth can help increase efficiencies in our healthcare system, particularly within ERs. New technologies are bringing patients face-to-face with physicians faster than ever before, allowing for the speedy transfer of images, videos, and treatment recommendations, as well as a reduction in wait times, lengths of stay, and costs.
As the technology expands so too does patient access, allowing those in historically underserved areas to connect with physicians and receive treatment quickly despite a lack of hospitals and healthcare workers in their area. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center recently announced they were launching statewide access to emergency telemedicine services.
Here, we take a deeper look at how telehealth may be a game changer for emergency medicine.
2015 U.S. Healthcare Spending: 17.8% of GDP
2025 U.S. Healthcare Spending: 19.9% of GDP
The Veterans Health Administration saved nearly $1 billion in 2012 after implementing telehealth and other mobile health services. Annual savings per patient were $6,500.
After Mercy Health introduced their Virtual Care Center in 2015, expected inpatient lengths of stay decreased by 40%.
At Aurora Sinai Medical Center, the use of telehealth has reduced door-to-doctor times by 75%.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medical Center joined forces to create the NYP-Weill Cornell ED Telehealth Express Care Service in 2016. Within two months the service had reduced average ER visits from 4 hours to just 30 minutes for patients with minor complaints.
At Fuse by Cardinal Health, our innovation center, we work alongside customers to solve complex healthcare challenges and create solutions that transform the future of health and wellness. We are looking closely at how emerging technologies, including telehealth, can make care delivery more efficient in acute and other settings. Learn more at www.cardinalhealth.com/fuse.
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