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Emergency Medicine Consultants launches Safe Transitions program at DFW area hospitals

Leaving the hospital no longer means patients are separated from their doctor

Dallas, TX – Emergency Medicine Consultants (EMC) is pleased to announce the launch of the Safe Transitions program at select hospitals in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.

The innovative safety program gives patients who've been discharged from the Emergency Room (ER) complimentary and immediate access back to local emergency medicine physicians through their computer or mobile device from the comfort of their homes.

"Patients choose the ER for sudden illness because of its accessibility, expediency, and comprehensive services," says Dr. Matthew Muller, safety and quality officer for EMC. "However, we understand that time spent in the ER represents only a fraction of the care episode. Upon returning home, patients and family sometimes have additional questions about the diagnosis and treatment, or have concerns about persisting or worsening symptoms."

By re-imagining the ER visit, these emergency physicians are tackling this long-standing challenge by creating access to care when and where it is needed. The first-of-its-kind telehealth program is available to patients 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week for the seven days following their discharge from the ER at no cost to them. This broader view of emergency room care not only improves safety, it's helping guide patients through the health system in a more reliable and efficient manner.

To deliver these solutions, the doctors teamed with CirrusMD, a telemedicine innovator focused on value-based care models using secure text messaging platforms. "We chose CirrusMD because they understand the value of strong relationships between patients and their local physicians, and are using state-of-that-art communications technology to drive that engagement" says Dr. Muller.

Andy Altorfer, CEO of CirrusMD explains "We know that patients are most likely to return to the hospital within the week following a discharge. By giving patients a complimentary, HIPAA-compliant virtual care option to text, image share, or video chat directly with their local doctors, we can remove barriers to care and help ensure they’re seeing the right doctor at the right time."

In the first few weeks, more than a hundred patients have taken advantage of the service, with 90% of patients' concerns resolved and referred on to the medical home for non-emergent follow-up.

EMC's clients contract with local emergency physicians to staff emergency rooms throughout North Texas, including in Texas Health Resources and Methodist Health System. Those clients will continue to expand Safe Transitions to additional DFW area hospitals in the coming weeks and months.

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Rebecca Sunshine