New Hotline Will Offer JPS Patients Quick Answers to Post-Surgical Concerns

August 10th, 2018

When Trauma and Emergency Department patients go home after surgery, they often have concerns or questions about the healing process.

Is this normal? Do I need to go back to the hospital? Is it supposed to hurt this much? Can this wait until my next appointment?

JPS Health Network

JPS Health Network

To help provide comfort to healing people, create an additional safety net to catch any issues that might come up after a procedure and eliminate unnecessary return trips to the hospital, JPS Health Network has created a post-surgery triage phone line that will offer post-surgical patients the ability to get an immediate assessment of their situation and answers to their questions in minutes – all from the comfort of their home.

“This going to be a really powerful tool,” said Dr. G. Robert Stephenson, a surgeon at JPS. “Many times, when a patient isn’t feeling well after surgery, they ask themselves how sick they have to be before they make the decision to spend several hours of their life in the emergency department to get things checked out. Now they’ll be able to get answers quickly, saving them time and, potentially, an unnecessary and expensive trip to the hospital.”

Stephenson added, while patients would be reassured to find their concern isn’t something to be alarmed about, avoiding an unnecessary visit to the hospital is good for JPS because it helps reduce demand in an already busy Emergency Department.

How does it work?

“When a patient calls in with a concern, they will be asked a series of questions by a nurse who will be able to make a recommendation based on their answers,” said Brendan Magan, Director of the JPS Access Resource Center. If the answers reveal reasons to be concerned, the attending surgeon would be called to the line to discuss the matter with the patient and the nurse.

Up until now, patients could call a hotline to speak to a nurse about their case, Stephenson said. But there was no way for them to get the attending physician on the line.

“When I was in private practice, I had an answering service that patients could call and get in touch with me that way,” Stephenson said. “There wasn’t really anything like that in the hospital world. But this is going to be like an answering service on steroids.”

Why? Because several people can be on the call at once, taking care of all the patient’s needs immediately. If the doctor told the patient on the line an appointment was needed the next morning, the nurse on the call could schedule the visit immediately. If the patient doesn’t speak English, a translator from JPS Language Services can also be conferenced into the call to bridge the communication gap.

“The ultimate goal in the creation of this new line is to increase patient safety and to improve the patient experience by making it easier to get answers,” Magan said. “The patient can phone up at any time to speak to a nurse live to find out if they need to come in to urgent care, if an appointment the next morning would suffice or if they have nothing to be alarmed about.”

The new line will have a soft opening August 14 from 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. Magan said the goal is to have the line available to patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year.

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