What is Teleflex?
How does it work?
The modern emergency department (ED) often has unpredictable surges in patient arrivals and volume. Adequate provider staffing of an ED necessitates close attention to patterns of arrivals by hour, by day and at some locations, by season. Average volumes by hour are often used to estimate demand. Even with this careful attention to detail, there are frequent surges in patient volume that can last several hours and at times overwhelm the staff on site. Our organization has designed TeleFlex as a telehealth staffing solution to meet this challenge. During times of peak ED patient arrivals, our organization utilizes off-the-shelf tablets and HIPAA-compliant software to transmit a remote advanced practice clinician (APC including ARNPs and PAs) into our EDs to begin the patient’s visit prior to bed availability. TeleFlex expedites the care of these patients and allows a provider to lay virtual eyes on patients and start care to ensure that they are safe and have been appropriately triaged. TeleFlex can be initiated by either the receiving emergency department or by the offsite TeleFlex provider upon recognition of need.
What is the Teleflex technology?
TeleFlex is a process innovation that allows a single provider to impact multiple ED sites using telehealth technology. Our team utilizes readily-available tablets and HIPAA-compliant/encrypted software to virtually place an APC into an overwhelmed emergency department to assist with patient flow. TeleFlex allows patients to receive provider evaluation and diagnostic testing prior to bed availability. Our group staffs 11 emergency departments, spanning a distance of more than 100 miles. Through the use of our TeleFlex program, we can monitor and improve patient throughput in multiple EDs with a single provider. Currently, one APC serves 6 of our EDs, simultaneously.
Teleflex in Healthcare
The key cultural change that we developed was the idea that the patient evaluation and care begins upon entry into the waiting room and not when the patient reaches a bed. TeleFlex can be used to augment existing onsite staffing when they would otherwise be overwhelmed. Our goal is to have patients seen by a provider as soon as possible upon arrival to the ED. The flexible nature of the program allows the TeleFlex provider to evaluate a patient from the waiting room prior to bed availability, or see a patient in a bed, when their assigned provider is otherwise occupied.