Health Tips

In Case of Emergency: Quality Care with Compassion

In a medical emergency, there are two things most people want: the highest quality medical care, as soon as possible. TriHealth has taken that kernel of truth and built an emergency care system for residents of northern Cincinnati communities that is unmatched when it comes to quality, caring and expediency.

“All of our physicians are board certified in emergency medicine,” says Phillip Oblinger, M.D., Chief Clinical Officer for TriHealth’s northern Cincinnati emergency departments: Bethesda North Hospital, Bethesda Butler Hospital and Bethesda Arrow Springs. “That’s important. But what most sets TriHealth apart is teamwork. Physicians, nurses and ancillary staff all work together to create a seamless approach to getting emergency patients in and evaluated quickly.”

Because ambulance professionals often are the first to see patients, TriHealth’s ERs have worked hard to build relationships with local EMS companies. “They know which indications we want them to call us in advance for,” says Kenneth Patton, D.O.,Medical Director for the Bethesda North emergency department.

With advance notice of specific symptoms,the hospital can be ready with the appropriate tests or treatments upon the patient’s arrival. For example, with advance notice, as soon as patients with stroke symptoms arrive the medical staff can be ready to immediately send them for a CT scan to see whether damage to the brain has occurred and if there is any bleeding.Or, in the case of a suspected heart attack,staff could have the information ahead of time that helps them mobilize the catheterization lab team while the patient is still in the ambulance.

Emergency care close to home

“High quality routine emergency care is provided quickly to patients right in their communities,” says Dr. Oblinger. “It’s nice to have an ER nearby—you can get care faster right down the street, and the wait is often shorter than at larger hospitals.”James Schrichten, M.D., Medical Director for the Bethesda Arrow Springs and Bethesda Butler Hospital emergency departments,agrees. “Patients are seen very quickly,” he says. “And the same group of emergency physicians works at all sites, so you receive the same excellent care in each of our emergency departments. If specialty care is required, you have the backup of the entire TriHealth system of care.”

All TriHealth ERs offer full-service emergency care and stroke readiness services. Bethesda North has the additional designations of Level III Trauma Center and Primary Stroke Center. It also treats more acute heart attacks than any hospital in the region. Having this specialized facility in the TriHealth network makes that level of care easily available to patients who need it.Emergency patients who come to Bethesda Butler Hospital or Bethesda Arrow Springs and need specialty care can be evaluated and stabilized, then transferred seamlessly to Bethesda North.

What makes such transfers seamless?

TriHealth hospitals are all connected to the same electronic medical record network so patient information is immediately available to all TriHealth emergency personnel, as well as specialists and primary care physicians,regardless of their physical location.Any TriHealth treating physician can easily review a patient’s history, medications and imaging studies.

When a consultation with a specialist is necessary, it can be facilitated quickly,even after hours, through the technology and phone apps in which TriHealth has invested that have built-in safety measures compliant with the privacy requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA ).

“If a cardiologist is off duty, but needs to review an emergency EKG, we can send a picture of it right to the secure app on the physician’s phone,” says Dr. Oblinger. “Or if someone cut off a finger, we can send a photo to the hand surgeon.”

In addition to a focus on quality and reducing time to treatment, TriHealth emergency care stands out for its commitment to creating the best possible experience for patients, given the circumstances.“No one wants to be in the emergency room,” says Dr. Oblinger. “It’s high stress for patients and their families. But we want to establish a relationship with them immediately to ease fear and anxiety in short order.”

Toward that end, TriHealth has invested in working with an internationally renowned health care consulting company to create the best possible experience for patients,and to ensure excellent communication between physicians, hospital staff, patients and families. “In 35 years of medical practice,this is the first time I’ve been involved in a program like this,” says Dr. Oblinger.

“TriHealth is actively creating a culture of patient- and family-centered care to support the best possible clinical outcomes.”Dr. Schrichten agrees. “We recognize that being in the ER is a very stressful situation,”he says. “We’ll do anything we can to make the patient and family comfortable.We treat our patients as we would want to be treated.”

Award-winning nurses

Pointing out that an excellent patient experience starts with the nursing staff, Dr.Schrichten says: “Our nurses are extremely competent and caring. That makes our delivery of care excellent.” Bethesda Butler Hospital, Bethesda Arrow Springs and Bethesda North Hospital each have award winning nursing staffs. Recognitions include Nightingale awards, Greater Cincinnati Emergency Nurses Association awards, and Lantern awards, presented nationally by the Emergency Nurses Association.

“We couldn’t do this calling without our nursing teams,” says Dr. Oblinger. “The awards our nurses have earned are a manifestation of their day-in and day-out dedication to patients and families. That’show they win those awards.”

Tags Health Tips