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.