Mid-Atlantic Emergency Medical Associates (MEMA) has teamed up with Novant Health to launch a virtual triage initiative. Two years in the making, Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center, Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center, Novant Health Matthews Center, and Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center have embarked collectively to integrate a virtual triage touchpoint for emergency room patients, staffed by MEMA advanced practice providers (APPs).

This newly added program aims to reduce patient wait times, the number of patients who leave the emergency room without being seen and to assist with continued patient satisfaction. Most importantly perhaps, this additional connection point allows for second opportunity to triage patients by a provider to assist in prioritizing their patient status and to identify and request scans, etc., all via e-consult.

Jenny Mixter, PA-C with MEMA shares, “Since our e-consults started in January, I have triaged two patients with pulmonary embolisms who were immediately prioritized to be seen right away.” and adds, “These were not patients who should be waiting any longer than they have to and was satisfying to catch these details, that maybe wouldn’t have been caught beforehand as quickly.”

As part of the Novant ED nursing leadership team, Courtney Cortés, MBA, MSN, RN provides important data points being collected including how Novant Health Medical Center’s ED alone observed a significant reduction in the “door to doc” wait time. “In January, the average adult ED wait time was 96.4 minutes and after launching the virtual triage, the wait times were reduced to 51.1 minutes in February. In just one month we were able to see a considerable drop in wait times along with a drop in the number of patients who left the ED without being treated.” and shares “This makes all the difference when serving the community and creating a better patient experience.”

“Our close relationship with MEMA has been crucial throughout this 2+ year project and allowed us to remain strategic and focused so our EDs can continue to offer the highest patient care in the Charlotte and surrounding areas.” says Kathy Haddix Hill, VP of Emergency Services with Novant.

The future for virtual triage is bright, with opportunities to expand staffing and additional facilities to create efficiencies. This is certain to benefit patient satisfaction data as the initiative progresses along with efficiencies assisting in how services are being delivered in the ED. Tim Lietz, MD, FACEP, CEO with MEMA shares, “The pandemic made it more apparent the true need for virtual triage in our EDs and leveraging new technologies to improve quality care was imperative. We are grateful to have partners such as Novant to entrust our providers to care for patients.”