A Country In Search Of A Viable Solution For ER Overcrowding
The current state of U.S. healthcare involves a multitude of complex challenges experienced and felt by everyone involved - from the top to the bottom.
The problem of ER overcrowding, for example, where staff must balance the impossible: mile high patient demand with a shortage of physicians and resources. The ending result for the patient, unbearably long wait times before being seen, diagnosed, treated, and sent home. You’d better have all day to sit.
This special set of problems is further complicated when you roll into it the fincial challenges of healthcare. Many people simply aren’t covered, and as far as U.S. Emergency Departments history goes, ERs are available to everyone, no matter their financial status or coverage benefits.
Leaders are taking innovative approaches to creatively solving to eradicate, or minimize the multitude of burdens faced by everyone involved have emerged, been tested, and now awaiting further implementation via policymakers, etc.
For example, revolutionary nurse protocols are being introduced that are changing the ways that nurses are involved in ER settings.
In a recent study, nurse protocol now involved them initiating the treatment of ED patients, and scooting patients further down the ER funnel in shorter times, thus alleviating the enormous wait time from so many patients that are, just waiting to be seen.
Another innovative approach to ER overcrowding was recently studied - freestanding ERs, which are high tech emergency room units that aren’t adjoined to hospitals, but that offer a ton of value to patients who have gotten over their skepticism to try something new.
These freestanding ERs are, after all, fully staffed by the same standard of education, merit, and qualifications of the ERs you’re used to. It’s based on convenience, as it’s closer to your home, covered by your provider, and without all of the fuss and hassle associated with the traditional ER experience.
If this sounds too good to be true, you’re right. However if you’re making over $70,000 a year and are privately insured, then freestanding ERs were made for you!
Unfortunately, still early in it’s conception, policy hasn’t exactly caught up to this brilliant approach to alleviating ER overcrowding. It’s already a billion dollar industry with nowhere to go but up.
Once policy changes are made and freestanding ERs are recognized by Medicare, thus allowing for facility reimbursements, only then will these good-spirited entrepreneurial cash cows be in a position to greater impact health outcomes - instead of just the wealthy.
The good news is that innovation is contagious, and everyone does have better outcomes in mind.