East Bay Partnership Improves Care for Frequent ED Patients

Posted on Mar 21, 2017

A new community collaboration led by Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center is improving health care for patients who frequently visit emergency departments at six hospital locations in the East Bay. Called PreManage ED, the new program uses technology to securely share data between emergency physicians and their teams to improve and coordinate patient care in real time.

Since coming online last spring, PreManage ED has allowed emergency departments within the Sutter Health network and Alameda Health System to identify more than 1,700 shared patients who visited an ED five or more times in the previous year. Before PreManage ED was implemented, neither health system could identify these frequent visitors as shared patients.

“The PreManage ED system instantly alerts our staff when a patient has a case history of using the ED on at least three occasions in less than 30 days,” says Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of the Alta Bates Summit Emergency Department in Oakland. “This tool allows us to quickly view the patient’s recent treatment history and pinpoint the reasons why they are visiting the ED so often.”

Erika O’Bannon, Alta Bates Summit ED social worker and Ronn Berrol, M.D., medical director of the Alta Bates Summit Emergency Department in Oakland are using a new tool to better coordinate care for ED patients in the East Bay.


Case Management Collaboration
The most frequent ED patients typically suffer from chronic illnesses, mental health issues and substance abuse problems. They may also be homeless. Since many of these patients don’t have access to a primary care physician and have little or no social support to help them navigate the healthcare system, they rely on the ED as their point of entry for their medical, social and emotional needs. With this new collaborative care model, these patients can receive better-coordinated, earlier medical intervention to help prevent inpatient stays and improve health outcomes overall.

PreManage ED improves patient care by allowing ED staff to make more informed clinical decisions and better direct a patient’s follow-up care. The system allows ED case managers at all six hospitals to collaborate when a patient isn’t able to effectively articulate what specific treatment they received at another hospital.

“It’s phenomenal to be able to quickly assess how patients are utilizing ED care and to ask patients important questions that can help reduce their risk of future ED visits,” says Erika O’Bannon, an Alta Bates Summit ED social worker. “For instance, if I notice that a patient with diabetes has also been over-utilizing Highland Hospital’s ED, I can call the case manager at Highland and help coordinate follow-up care with a diabetes educator.”

Participating hospitals include Sutter Health’s Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley, Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch, Sutter’s Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, and Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital in Oakland and San Leandro Hospital in San Leandro.

“Thanks to philanthropic investment from Sutter Health’s nonprofit foundation, Better Health East Bay, and support from Alta Bates Summit’s leadership team, our ED staff has access to a very valuable tool,” adds Berrol. “I would love to see more hospitals in the Bay Area adopt the same system so that we can continue to improve health outcomes in our community by reducing the risk of ED visits for high-risk patients with complex needs.”

Learn More
To learn more about how Alta Bates Summit partners to help  and underinsured residents in the East Bay, visit: newsroom.altabatessummit.org. To learn more about Better Health East Bay visit https://betterhealtheastbay.org/

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