Emergency Departments (EDs) are the gateway to healthcare for the majority of Americans. There are over 125 million ED visits a year. One-third of these visits are due to injury, one-eighth to mental illness or substance abuse, and over one-third are from patients who are under- or un-insured. ED patients are often the members of society who are the most at-risk for poor health outcomes and also those with the fewest resources to address their acute or chronic medical conditions.
Yet ED patients have tremendous access to technology: recent studies show that despite low socioeconomic status, 95% of ED patients own cellphones, 93% access the internet, and 65% have smartphones. Technology provides potential solutions to perennial barriers to improving the health of the ED population, such as time constraints, access to post-ED care, and fidelity of interventions. And the ED patient population provides potential solutions to many perennial challenges for public health research: accessing difficult-to-reach populations, adequately sampling the most at-risk, and proving real-world efficacy.
This panel discussion will feature emergency physician-researchers, each of whom are currently conducting funded research on technology-based public health interventions. We will discuss the ways in which we have successfully stretched the boundaries of “Medicine 2.0” (interactive computer programs, text messaging, social media) to improve the health of the ED population. We will discuss ways to translate technology’s efficiency, efficacy and fidelity into the hectic ED environment. We will also outline some of the reasons to test mHealth innovations in the ED environment.
The use of mHealth to impact this at-risk population is imperative. Yet it is something that few researchers, computer scientists, pharmaceutical companies, mental health professionals, or hospital administrators have done. By the close of this panel discussion, attendees will have attained critical knowledge about the advantages of, and possibilities for, extending mHealth into the ED setting.
* Esther K. Choo, MD MPH, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University, has grants from NIDA to develop interactive, computer-based interventions to address partner violence and substance use in the ED.
* Nick Genes, MD PhD is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Mt Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Genes has spoken at national conferences on the utility of social media for physicians career development and ED community relations, and is researching physician usage of social media tools, HIT, and patient-support tools.
* Megan L Ranney, MD MPH is Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at Brown University, a core researcher in the Injury Prevention Center of Rhode Island Hospital. Her research includes using text-messaging to assess and deliver interventions to adolescent ED patients.