Patient Transfers are business. Serious business for all patients involved; transferring hospitals, transport service, agent and – the patient. They hold the balance to patient care, place and time and business side of treatment. If a patient transfer is initiated and the ED/ EMS staff are unable to follow protocols it could result in not only the breaking of federal law but connectivity impact outcomes and costs.“Inter-hospital transfers can have negative financial (operational, and liability) implications for the patient, transferring and accepting facilities, and the health care system” (Academic Emergency Medicine: Inter-hospital Transfers from U.S. Emergency Departments; 2013). This article will explain
• EMTALA and how it will affect your transfer process
• The different types of Transfers
• How the transfer process and workflow can be made simpler, with less risk, using protocols.
In 2017, the United States saw 1,391,712 hospital transfers. Faster approved transfers lead to much better outcomes and more lives saved. Transfers can be necessitated by a multitude of reasons which include overcrowding, limited resources, lack of expertise, proper equipment for specific treatment specializations and more. A transfer can happen at any time during transport to the hospital or during the patient stay. There are times where an incoming EMS call is immediately deemed transfer necessary, referred to as a diversion. Other times, a patient could be within the middle of their hospital stay and require a treatment which is better suited for another hospital. Once the need for transfer is confirmed there are certain liabilities and protocols that must be followed.
E M T A L A, the federal law, requires the patient transferred from one hospital to another to be stabilized and treated. This can include forms that must be completed, pre-transfer stabilization and preparation, as well as communication between the EDs, the transporting staff and transfer centers. EMTALA includes its’ own steps that must be followed during a transfer.
Transfer centers were established in an attempt to better manage the process. The simple fact is, their communication technologies do not allow team collaboration.
How can GD help?
Having certain protocols can restrict the ease of transfer, which is where GD solutions come in. Whether it’s an intra-hospital, inter-hospital or EMS transfer, GD solutions have the capabilities you need to ensure the patients best interests. GD can help to securely process documentation as well as real-time video, including tracking, timestamping, and more. “Documents should be used for audit purposes for investigating the flaws in the patient transfer”. All GD features help to not only achieve better patient outcomes but improve hospital benchmarks while initiating transfers. During a transfer, timing is one of the most crucial components to ensure patient health.
So many people focus on the interoperability of data but forget that modern technology also needs to focus on the ways to unite people from different healthcare entities. e-Bridge™ allows transfers to be made more efficient and easier to keep track of. If you want to learn more about how GD can help your transfer process, contact us today!