Blue Mountain Hospital's Emergency Room recently added a brand new Tele-health service that will expand its ability to treat even more emergency patients.
The hospital recently signed a contract with the University of Utah to provide Tele-burn services in the ER. This service will allow providers and staff in the emergency room to consult with burn specialists at the University of Utah. This service will help providers assess the burns; determine the type of treatment needed for acute burn patients, and whether these patients need to be transported to another facility for care. According to Blue Mountain Hospital ER Tech Manager Cari Spillman, the Tele-burn service wills even help burn patients with follow up consultations.
"The (UNHS) clinics are also set up with Tele-burn so if there is any follow up, they can do that via Tele-burn. This means patients don't have to travel to Salt Lake City for these visits," Spillman said. "We've done a couple of follow up appointments here in the ER, and the patient's mom said it saved them something like six trips to Salt Lake, which was really nice."
Spillman said the Tele-burn service will use the same machine used for Tele-stroke consultations. The only difference will be where they call. The new Tele-burn service is the latest collaboration between Blue Mountain Hospital and University of Utah Health Care, since their affiliation was finalized last October. It will greatly add to the quality of healthcare provided at the hospital, and in the ER.
The Emergency Room staff at Blue Mountain Hospital saw 2,371 patients in 2014. That is up slightly from 2013. Spillman said the ER averages about seven patients each day, which is pretty decent for an ER of its size.
"A lot of people might not know this but we have 24/7 coverage. We always have an ER nurse in the ER and we have ER Techs 24/7," Spillman explained. "ER Techs have different qualifications from CNA to MA to EMT. We also have 24/7 provider on-call coverage," Spillman said.
She also noted that when a patient comes into the ER they have access to lab and radiology services, and connection with specialists all over. If needed, the ER staff can do Tele-stroke and Tele-burn consultations. They can do EKG's and basically any service a full-function ER can offer.
"ER patients also have access to Operating Room services, if needed," she continued. "If they come in with an acute condition, the provider will decide if it is surgical and he'll consult with the hospital's surgeon. The surgeon will decide if it's something he'll do at the hospital or if it needs to be sent out. If he decides to do surgery, he can take them right back to the OR, call his crew in and make it happen."
Spillman said the ER staff is also working to improve insurance and billing services.
"Right now we're focusing on being more efficient with coordination of benefits and our registration task. If patients come into ER we make sure that when they get registered into the system, they are registered with the right insurance, in the right order so that things go through the billing quickly and efficiently. And hopefully if it's billed right it will be very low cost to the patient. So we're really focused on being accurate and efficient with those things," she said.
Blue Mountain Hospital's ER also has access to memberships with Eagle Air Med and Classic Lifeguard that patients can sign up for. It usually involves a small yearly fee. If patients are ever flown out and they have that membership, the companies would write off whatever the patient's insurance company didn't cover.
"So that's kind of nice, when you're dealing with being flown out and having all the bills pouring in. That's one bill you won't have to worry about," Spillman added.
She went on to explain that the ER is close enough to the hospital's dialysis unit, that if a dialysis patient has issues that need care, they can be taken to the ER and providers there can consult with Nephrologists in Farmington, New Mexico. Then decisions can be made quickly about their care.
"The other thing on that same note," she added, "is that with the UNHS clinic being in the same building, we also work very well with the clinic. If they have a patient that they feel is emergent, they bring them right over and we get them right in. And of course the same doctors that are seeing patients in the clinic are the same doctors that are seeing the patients in the ER. So they already know what's going on. They know the patient by name, usually."
Spillman said the entire ER staff is working to improve not only the quality of medical care offered to patients, but also the quality of customer service. She said the staff is working on efforts to explain to patients what is happening, answer questions and have a better level of communication between staff and patients, so they feel they are part of their care.
"That's what we're focusing on right now. And that customer service model is also all throughout the hospital. So as a patient moves from department to department they will start seeing the same great customer service that we're working on here. So it is hospital-wide," she said.