Patient Emergencies
If you own or manage a clinic, you must be prepared for medical emergencies, and your staff must be duly trained for them. While you cannot possibly prepare for every emergency, you must be ready for common types like asthma attacks, seizures, anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest, and hypoglycemia. Your physicians and staff must be able to make a quick diagnosis to determine the symptoms, their severity, and immediate treatment. While later, the patient may be transferred to a hospital or sent home, your initial treatment might prove life-saving.

In emergency situations, timely and effective care is paramount. Healthcare providers need access to facilities equipped to precisely handle urgent medical needs. For those seeking comprehensive emergency care services, visit Obria Medical Clinics, which utilizes advanced medical protocols and equipment to ensure patient safety and prompt treatment. This approach saves lives and enhances the overall efficiency of emergency medical response.

Get the Basics Down

Your staff has to be trained in one particular aspect of emergencies—speed. Staff must not delay first aid if it's needed. They should also be able to quickly identify vital signs and key symptoms—early identification enables prompt treatment. Simultaneously, while assisting the victim, staff must start calling in others who could help.

Essential tactic employees should be trained in is de-escalation. This includes being calm and inducing the patient to be quiet. Attending staff must talk to relatives to let them know things are under control.

To treat emergencies, you want your clinic's emergency medical kit complemented with equipment for common types of emergencies. Besides having emergency medical equipment, you can improve with top-notch health management software that eliminates paperwork and automates clinical workflow.

Implement Electronic Medical Record (EMR) Software

EMR software digitally stores clinical data related to a patient's treatment under a particular health provider (hospital or clinic). This data includes patient demographics, symptoms and vital signs, nursing progress notes, problems, laboratory reports, prescriptions, and past medical history. An EMR system lets your clinic eliminate the tedious paperwork with digitized records—not just your patients' records, but your employees' health records too.

When digitized, employee health records facilitate easy management, higher accuracy, and greater accessibility. This is especially important during an emergency situation.

Among other benefits, an EMR system allows your physicians to:
  • Take electronic notes during patient encounters
  • Communicate with staff and patients
  • Sync treatment information with billing systems
  • (After patient discharge) See and prescribe patients remotely
Generate reports on compliance with government EHR incentive programs

Notably, in U.S. clinics that do not implement a good EMR solution, physicians spend as much as 28 percent of their time on non-clinical paperwork due to poor workflow design. In comparison, only 16 percent of physicians have instant access to patient records. Using good EMR software thus improves your physicians' efficiency. This, in turn, helps overall staff efficiency and your clinic's cost-cutting drive.

NextGen EMR software gets you all of these advantages. NextGen offers two software suites under that umbrella: NextGen Office (for small clinics with up to 10 physicians) and NextGen Enterprise (for larger health providers). Because the software uses the cloud to store data—which can be accessed from anywhere, including a mobile handset, physicians and staff can respond to emergencies quickly. Physicians can send preliminary instructions to attending staff even as they drive into the crisis.

Prepare for Transportation

Your clinic is likely not suited for every major illness. There could thus be emergency patients your clinic cannot admit. Such cases require you to transport the patient to a hospital immediately after diagnosis or first aid.

Ambulances are not the only means of patient transfer. A quicker and cheaper alternative is rideshare such as Uber and Lyft, or perhaps even inviting a bid via Roundtrip Community. To keep things as simple as possible, you want to use EMR software. It permits you to put all necessary resources (accompanying wheelchair, for example) under the same ride-booking workflow as the means of transport when booking a ride.

Remember a couple of things about patient transport. First, it could require transporting the patient into the clinic itself; secondly, the more the delay in transportation, the more critical the patient's symptoms could be when meeting the doctor. It's better to be prepared ahead of time.

Maintain All Equipment

As with any other office, your clinic has to maintain its equipment. Besides ensuring greater efficiency of your staff, it could save an emergency case from turning worse. Dealing with emergencies is easier said than done. Every issue of a crisis involves a human being fighting for life. As a clinic owner or manager, you become responsible for carrying your emergency patient to safety, so make sure your team is prepared at any moment.

Handling patient emergencies in a clinic setting requires a combination of preparedness, quick thinking, and efficient action. Here are steps and best practices to effectively manage patient emergencies:

1. Preparation and Training

  • Emergency Protocols: Develop and maintain clear, comprehensive emergency protocols for various scenarios (cardiac arrest, allergic reactions, seizures, etc.).
  • Staff Training: Ensure all staff, including non-medical personnel, are trained in basic life support (BLS), first aid, and your clinic's specific emergency protocols.
  • Regular Drills: Conduct regular emergency drills to keep skills sharp and ensure everyone knows their roles.

2. Emergency Equipment and Supplies

  • Accessible Equipment: Keep essential emergency equipment such as automated external defibrillators (AEDs), oxygen tanks, and first aid kits readily accessible and well-maintained.
  • Medication Stock: Ensure you have an adequate supply of emergency medications, such as epinephrine, nitroglycerin, and albuterol, and check expiration dates regularly.

3. Initial Assessment and Action

  • Triage: Quickly assess the severity of the emergency. Use a systematic approach (e.g., ABCs: Airway, Breathing, Circulation) to prioritize immediate actions.
  • Calm and Reassure: Keep the patient calm and reassured. Anxiety can exacerbate many medical conditions, so maintaining a composed demeanor is crucial.

4. Specific Emergency Responses

  • Cardiac Arrest: Begin CPR immediately and use an AED if available. Continue until emergency medical services (EMS) arrive.
  • Anaphylaxis: Administer epinephrine without delay and provide oxygen if needed. Monitor the patient closely and prepare for possible resuscitation.
  • Seizures: Clear the area around the patient to protect them from injury. Do not restrain them or put anything in their mouth. Monitor their airway and breathing.
  • Asthma Attack: Administer a quick-relief inhaler (bronchodilator) and provide oxygen. Monitor the patient’s response and prepare for escalation if necessary.

5. Communication

  • Internal Communication: Use a clear and concise method to alert all staff about the emergency. Ensure everyone knows their specific responsibilities.
  • External Communication: Call 911 or the appropriate emergency number immediately if advanced medical intervention is required. Provide clear and accurate information to dispatch.

6. Documentation

  • Incident Reports: Document the emergency thoroughly, including the patient’s initial condition, actions taken, medications administered, and the patient’s response.
  • Follow-Up: Ensure that a follow-up plan is in place for the patient, including additional treatment or referrals to specialists if needed.

7. Post-Emergency Review

  • Debriefing: Conduct a debriefing session with all involved staff to review what happened, what was done well, and areas for improvement.
  • Continual Improvement: Update protocols and training based on lessons learned from each emergency to improve future responses.

8. Patient Education

  • Preventative Advice: Educate patients about managing their conditions and recognizing early warning signs of emergencies.
  • Emergency Contacts: Ensure patients understand how to contact your clinic in case of an emergency and provide them with written instructions if necessary.
By implementing these practices, clinics can be better prepared to handle patient emergencies effectively, ensuring patient safety and improving outcomes during critical situations.