Telemedicine May Reduce ER Crowding, Wait Times

Telemedicine May Reduce ER Crowding, Wait TimesA new pilot program announced by the UC San Diego Health System will explore how telemedicine can potentially address and mitigate overcrowding and patient wait times in the emergency room.

According to an announcement from UC San Diego, the study is the first of its kind in California, chiefly in response to the program’s deployment of cameras to connect on-call doctors outside of the hospital with patients in need of urgent care.

Emergency department (ED) overcrowding has been a major issue nationally for 20 years and continues to increase in severity.  To address this issue, a pilot study has been launched at UC San Diego Health System’s ED to use telemedicine as a way to help address crowding and decrease patient wait times.

“This telemedicine study will determine if we can decrease wait times while reducing the number of patients who leave the ED without being seen by a physician,” explains Dr. David Guss, principal investigator and chair of the department of emergency medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine.

“With the ED physicians on site and an added telemedicine physician,” Dr. Guss adds, “patient care may be significantly expedited.  If the use of a telemedicine evaluation can be shown to be safe and effective, it may shift how care in the emergency department is delivered.”

To learn more about this ambitious and promising pilot program, click here.

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