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ECMC debuts virtual ER visits

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Wed, Apr 15th 2020 05:00 pm

ECMC begins virtual ER care platform to provide at-home care for patients

Erie County Medical Center Corp. on Wednesday announced it has launched a virtual ER care platform to provide video and telephonic visits for remote emergency room visits, in addition to previously established virtual care outpatient services.

ECMC provides vital health care services to the Western New York community and the virtual care platform allows care to continue throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The services being provided are for both COVID-19-related and non-COVID-19 matters.

ECMC Virtual ER Visits

ECMC’s new virtual ER program allows patients to schedule on-demand virtual visits for appropriate medical conditions via ECMC’s website (www.ecmc.edu).

How ECMC virtual ER visits work:

•Individuals with appropriate clinical conditions schedule a virtual ER visit at www.ecmc.edu Conditions include: allergies, bronchitis, suspected COVID-19, cold and flu, cough, fever, sore throat, sinus infection, eye infection/irritation, rash, hives, upset stomach, heartburn, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and other minor ailments

•Upon appointment confirmation, a care team member contacts the individual by phone to complete registration and general assessment. Depending on the individual’s symptoms and care needs, an on-site visit may be required at the discretion of the care team.

•Prior to the appointment time, the individual receives information on how to connect to a secure video conference line, accessible on a smartphone, PC or tablet.

•The emergency room provider consults with patient to assess symptoms, provide recommendations and prescribe medications as needed.

Dr. David Ellis works with the ECMC emergency department and is director of telemedicine at UBMD Emergency Medicine. He said, “Life and health care have changed significantly due to COVID-19. Our ability to use telemedicine and telehealth capabilities to reach out to our patients is more important than ever. I am very excited that ECMC and UBMD emergency medicine have partnered to provide this service to the community.”

Outpatient Virtual Visits

ECMC’s outpatient medical, surgical, dental and behavioral health services are now conducting both video and telephonic visits.

ECMC outpatient services are continuing to follow the recommended social distancing guidelines as part of its COVID-19 response. As a result, some in-person visits are being limited. To continue to meet the health care needs of ECMC’s valued patients, ECMC is now offering virtual visits by video and telephone.

For visits that cannot be done virtually, ECMC staff contact patients to reschedule in-person appointments as needed.

Patients can call 716-898-3700 or visit www.ecmc.edu/virtual to schedule a virtual visit for an ECMC outpatient service.

Dr. Ellen Rich, medical director of the Internal Medicine Center at ECMC, said, “Even in a pandemic, people have chronic medical conditions and urgent concerns. We can help guide patients through their questions and concerns during this difficult time via telemedicine. We want to reassure patients that their doctor is available to manage their health care needs during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

ECMC COVID-19 Statistics

As of Wednesday:

  • Inpatients: 36 confirmed cases currently in-house (20 on ventilators)
  • 8 under investigation

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