Kaweah Delta Family Medicine Center Becomes First in Nation To Adopt CEP America’s On Duty Tele-Urgent Service

3/3/2016
 
Kaweah Delta Family Medicine Center has become the first healthcare facility in the nation to offer CEP America’s On Duty® tele-urgent care service to its primary care clinic patients.

Patients connect via smart phones, laptops, personal computers or tablets. With a tele-urgent program, care starts within minutes of each request. Unlike other telehealth providers, On Duty sets no limit on the length or number of appointments. CEP America is one of the nation’s leading providers of acute care services and one of the first to introduce a tele-urgent service. On Duty connects patients to physicians via live video to diagnose, recommend treatment and prescribe medication. The service is free and open to current clinic patients. It also offers phone translator services for non-English speaking patients.

Located in the diverse heartland of Central California, like many rural hospitals, the Kaweah Delta Family Medicine Center has struggled to find a better way to meet the needs of patients, especially after clinic hours. The tele-urgent program will allow the 2,000-plus patients currently seen in its primary care clinic to access providers after-hours or on weekends for urgent care or other health needs. It will also help the busy hospital ED to better manage its patient case load.

“When patients had an illness or serious injury, often our lower acuity patients ended up feeling they had nowhere to turn but a busy Emergency Department,” said Daniel Brown, D.O., director of the Kaweah Delta Family Medicine Center. “In addition, we have seen an increase in patients who are newly insured but may not have a primary care physician presenting to our ED. The use of the On Duty tele-urgent service is a great way to provide important healthcare services that engage and educate patients while ensuring our ED remains able to care for seriously ill or injured people in a timely manner.”

Residents from accredited medical schools, who are already caring for these patients as part of their training, will provide the telehealth services. These residents are available during standard clinic hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). After hours, if needed, patients may connect with the resident on call via On Duty. Just as they do for routine clinic visits, attending physicians will supervise resident activities and will be available if needed for consultations.

One of several advantages to the program is the continuity of care offered by a provider who will often see a patient in the clinic and can then deliver after-hours care remotely. On Duty residents also can provide important care continuity for post-discharge patients.

“We believe in the power of telehealth to bring better and much needed care to patients in a more accessible and timely manner,” said Joseph Chan, M.D., Administrative Fellow for CEP America and one of the driving forces behind the Kaweah Delta telehealth program. “Our residents are excited to be on the ground floor of a program that exemplifies the future of healthcare services.”

For additional information visit http://www.cepamerica.com/services/telehealth or call (800) 600–6339.
 
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