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1.
Mil Med ; 2022 Jun 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1908866

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: Emergency departments (EDs) have continued to struggle with overcrowding, causing delays in patient care and increasing stress on the medical staff and resources. This was further illustrated during the recent coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, where we saw large unpredictable surges to the ED as hospitals tried to meet the medical needs of patients while trying to minimize the spread of coronavirus disease. A previous study from the Department of Emergency at the Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) found that nearly half of the patients presenting to the ED could have been managed in a primary care setting. We sought to pilot an alternate appointment scheduling system, Acute Care Clinic Easy Scheduling System, to allow patients to see and book available appointments while waiting in the ED waiting room. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Our appointment display system was created through collaboration with the BAMC Information Management Division. A Tableau data interface connects to the Composite Health Care System to view available primary appointments across the San Antonio Military Health Care System. These are displayed in real-time on multiple TV screens outside the ED and in the ED waiting room. Patients were provided signage that provides a way to call or use a World Wide Web-based interface to immediately schedule the open appointments within the next 48 hours. Patients voluntarily opted to use this system and may opt to leave the ED if another appointment became available within an acceptable time frame to them. RESULTS: This section is not applicable to this article. CONCLUSIONS: Expansion of the Acute Care Clinic Easy Scheduling System within the Military Health Care System may (1) help reduce ED crowding, (2) improve access to care through a live-tracking system that patients can review and select from, and (3) reduce the number of unfilled primary care appointments. The system in place in the BAMC ED serves as a template for other MTFs to use.

2.
Mil Med ; 187(9-10): e1153-e1159, 2022 08 25.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638250

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Emergency departments (EDs) continue to struggle with overcrowding, increasing wait times, and a surge in patients with non-urgent conditions. Patients frequently choose the ED for non-emergent medical issues or injuries that could readily be handled in a primary care setting. We analyzed encounters in the ED at the Brooke Army Medical Center-the largest hospital in the Department of Defense-to determine the percentage of visits that could potentially be managed in a lower cost, appointment-based setting. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We conducted a retrospective chart review of patients within our electronic medical record system from September 2019 to August 2020, which represented equidistance from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, resulting in a shift in ED used based on previously published data. Our study also compared the number of ED visits pre-covid vs. post-covid. We defined visits to be primary care eligible if they were discharged home and received no computed tomography imaging, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging, intravenous medications, or intramuscular-controlled substances. RESULTS: During the 12 month period, we queried data on 75,205 patient charts. We categorized 56.7% (n = 42,647) of visits as primary care eligible within our chart review. Most primary-care-eligible visits were ESI level 4 (59.2%). The largest proportion of primary-care-eligible patients (28.3%) was seen in our fast-track area followed by our pediatric pod (21.9%). The total number of ED visits decreased from 7,477 pre-covid to 5,057 post-covid visits. However, the proportion of patient visits that qualified as primary care eligible was generally consistent. CONCLUSIONS: Over half of all ED visits in our dataset could be primary care eligible. Our findings suggest that our patient population may benefit from other on-demand and appointment-based healthcare delivery to decompress the ED.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Emergency Service, Hospital , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/therapy , Child , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies
3.
Mil Med ; 2021 Aug 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1364817

ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION: The coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted global healthcare delivery. Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) is the DoD's largest hospital and a critical platform for maintaining a ready medical force. We compare temporal trends in patient volumes and characteristics in the BAMC emergency department (ED) before versus during the pandemic. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We abstracted data on patient visits from the BAMC ED electronic medical record system. Data included patient demographics, visit dates, emergency severity index triage level, and disposition. We visually compared the data from January 1, 2019 to November 30, 2019 versus January 1, 2020 to November 30, 2020 to assess the period with the most apparent differences. We then used descriptive statistics to characterize the pre-pandemic control period (1 March-November 30, 2019) versus the pandemic period (1 March-November 30, 2020). RESULTS: Overall, when comparing the pre-pandemic and pandemic periods, the median number of visits per day was 232 (Interquartile Range (IQR) 214-250, range 145-293) versus 165 (144-193, range 89-308, P < .0001). Specific to pediatric visits, we found the median number of visits per day was 39 (IQR 33-46, range 15-72) versus 18 (IQR 14-22, range 5-61, P < .001). When comparing the median number of visits by month, the volumes were lower during the pandemic for all months, all of which were strongly significant (P < .001 for all). CONCLUSIONS: The BAMC ED experienced a significant decrease in patient volume during the COVID-19 pandemic starting in March 2020. This may have significant implications for the capacity of this facility to maintain a medically ready force.

4.
J Am Soc Echocardiogr ; 33(8): 1040-1047, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-342809

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an extraordinary strain on healthcare systems across North America. Defining the optimal approach for managing a critically ill COVID-19 patient is rapidly changing. Goal-directed transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is frequently used by physicians caring for intubated critically ill patients as a reliable imaging modality that is well suited to answer questions at bedside. METHODS: A multidisciplinary (intensive care, critical care cardiology, and emergency medicine) group of experts in point-of-care echocardiography and TEE from the United States and Canada convened to review the available evidence, share experiences, and produce a consensus statement aiming to provide clinicians with a framework to maximize the safety of patients and healthcare providers when considering focused point-of-care TEE in critically ill patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. RESULTS: Although transthoracic echocardiography can provide the information needed in most patients, there are specific scenarios in which TEE represents the modality of choice. TEE provides acute care clinicians with a goal-directed framework to guide clinical care and represents an ideal modality to evaluate hemodynamic instability during prone ventilation, perform serial evaluations of the lungs, support cardiac arrest resuscitation, and guide veno-venous ECMO cannulation. To aid other clinicians in performing TEE during the COVID-19 pandemic, we describe a set of principles and practical aspects for performing examinations with a focus on the logistics, personnel, and equipment required before, during, and after an examination. CONCLUSIONS: In the right clinical scenario, TEE is a tool that can provide the information needed to deliver the best and safest possible care for the critically ill patients.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Critical Care/organization & administration , Cross Infection/prevention & control , Echocardiography, Transesophageal/methods , Pandemics/statistics & numerical data , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome/epidemiology , COVID-19 , Canada/epidemiology , Consensus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Female , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Male , North America/epidemiology , Pandemics/prevention & control , Patient Positioning , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Point-of-Care Systems , Risk Assessment , Safety Management
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