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New program at Texas Health Rockwall allows patients to connect with ER physician after leaving emergency room

Safe Transitions

(ROCKWALL, TX – Nov. 7, 2016) In recent years efforts have been made to improve access to health care, including access to Emergency Room care for immediate, unscheduled needs.  Freestanding ERs – such as the one in North Rockwall at Lakeshore and SH 205/North Goliad – are more convenient and faster.  Telemedicine offers new options for around-the-clock care of minor illnesses, although generally not involving a local physician. The availability of convenient care is a great benefit; however, these options haven’t completely resolved every concern.  Worries arising after an ER visit can be especially troublesome, as patients await follow-up visits with a specialist or primary care provider.

Until now, options have been limited when faced with additional questions following a trip to the ER.  What do you do:  make a return visit incurring additional charges; wait it out and risk endangering your health more; or jump online to self-diagnose and potentially scare yourself with too much knowledge?

With Safe Transitions, today it’s possible to communicate directly with an ER physician electronically following an ER visit. Safe Transitions, a safety program developed by Emergency Medicine Consultants, offers patients the ability to text, share images, even video chat questions related to a recent ER visit directly with a physician.  All without leaving home!

Launched on Oct. 19, ER patients at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall, including the North Rockwall ER location, are discharged with information on how to access this secure resource.  With a physician response generally provided in just a few minutes, Safe Transitions offers patients, their loved ones or caregiver:

  • Access to follow-up care for 1 week following an ER visit, at no additional charge to the patient
  • HIPAA compliant
  • Conversational and continued dialogue
  • Ease of use

Texas Health Rockwall’s ER physicians, Emergency Medicine Consultants, who contract with hospitals in and outside the Texas Health system, developed Safe Transitions in collaboration with CirrusMD after about nine months of testing and process development.

“The medical community must become better at delivering care to patients when and where they need it,” said Dr. Matthew Muller, Safety and Quality Officer with EMC. “EMC understands that the ER visit represents only a small portion of the illness episode, and we want to be available to our patients to answer further questions and address their concerns during the transition back to their primary care physician and the medical home.”

In the short time since the service was made available, ER patients are providing positive feedback.  Those who have taken advantage of the service share that they are very comfortable with the process and appreciate the ability to ask questions, relieving themselves of additional worry.

Health care has advanced along with technology, yet there is no substitute for personal attention and concern.  Safe Transitions is just one more way today’s medical staff can be responsive to patients while offering quality and convenience.

Submitted by Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Rockwall. Read all of their Good Health columns at BlueRibbonNews.com.

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