For many, the normal path to medical care starts at the offices of their primary care physician or specialist. Yet for a large population, the regular path for receiving medical help actually starts at the emergency department. For a variety of reasons, many people today simply go to the ED for a wide range of issues that require attention. While not necessarily the most efficient and certainly not the most cost-effective approach, a trip to the emergency department of a nearby hospital can be the only realistic method of getting attention for otherwise minor issues. For this population, the ED serves as the “front door” to the world of healthcare.
Herein lies an opportunity to continue serving these patients after they leave the ED. With ongoing consolidation among systems, and even moreso as hospital systems acquire physician practices to further bolster both patient care cycles and business revenues, keeping patients in that hospital system should be at the forefront of post-treatment care. Simply put, hospitalists and related processes should be enhanced to direct patients to primary care providers or specialists for appropriate follow-up and treatment as needed. In many cases, these patients are underserved and welcome professional guidance as to ongoing treatment and management of their personal health. And for healthcare systems, keeping patients in their respective systems represents additional opportunities to serve more patients while also potentially delivering incremental billing opportunities at the practice level. Truly a win-win scenario for effective healthcare management for patients and providers alike.
But that continuation of care does not happen just because we want it to happen. It takes thought, effort and, most importantly, an effective patient communications program. Ensuring that patients are contacted in a timely manner with relevant follow-up is essential to keeping them in the healthcare system and hopefully establishing a primary care relationship that is still within that network. Without a such thoughtful program, the cycle of using the ED as a primary care resource continues, which is less efficient, more costly and sub-optimal in terms of the best patient care that could otherwise be provided with a strong care team established for those patients.
Nurses can help with patient communications, but that approach is not the best use of time and valuable resources for that activity. That is where PREMEDEX can help. With a team of trained clinical and non-clinical professionals, PREMEDEX connects with thousands of patients every day on behalf of healthcare systems around the nation. If patients come through the front door of the Emergency Department, PREMEDEX can help you keep them in the system to continue serving them in the best manner possible.