New Mobile Phone App Better Prepares ER Staff

SLEEPY HOLLOW – Phelps Hospital began using a new mobile communications tool this month called Twiage to help emergency medical services (EMS) and the hospital’s emergency department (ED) communicate vital information more accurately and quickly before a patient arrives in the ER. In many medical emergencies, like stroke and heart attack, time can mean the difference between life and death.

Prior to Twiage, EMS personnel used a cell phone or radio to relay information about an incoming patient to a call center or directly to the ED. At Phelps, one of the ED nurses on duty would receive the call and then notify the rest of the medical team. If a nurse or doctor had follow-up questions, they would have to get in contact with the ambulance via radio or phone.

In contrast, Twiage can send alerts 5 to 10 minutes earlier than a typical phone or radio call. Armed with patient information in advance, clinicians can prepare and map out a course of action before the patient’s arrival. According to a major trauma center that was an early adopter of Twiage, an average case can be entered in 30 seconds as opposed to the two minutes it takes to initiate a radio call.

With Twiage, the ED staff and specialist physicians can have a real-time conversation with the EMS crew to clarify all the necessary information. Using a smartphone or tablet they can share real-time patient data and send secured, privacy protected (HIPAA-compliant) photos and video. As a result, physicians, nurses, and the entire ER staff are better prepared to care for the patient when they arrive.

“As an ER doctor for more than 25 years, timely and accurate information is critical to saving the life of an incoming patient,” said Barry Geller, MD, chair of emergency department at Phelps Hospital. “Twiage allows EMS personnel to send photos, EKGs, or videos in real-time allowing our emergency medical unit to be better prepared ahead of when a patient arrives. We are in the business of saving lives and this is a powerful tool that I’m excited to have at our disposal.”

The emergency department at Phelps has been recognized as exceptional in delivering care and compassion to its patients. In 2021, the ER team received the Lantern Award from the Emergency Nurses Association, demonstrating exceptional and innovative performance in leadership, practice, education, advocacy and research.

In addition, Phelps Hospital was recently certified as an Advanced Thrombectomy-Capable Stroke Center (TSC) by The Joint Commission, the only one in Westchester County. Combined with the New York State Department of Health designation as a thrombectomy-capable stroke center, the hospital’s ED is where patients will receive the highest level of quality attention for advanced stroke care.

Phelps has received the American Heart Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Elite award for meeting specific criteria that reduce the time between a stroke patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment with the clot-busting drug alteplase. The hospital also received the American Heart Association’s Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll Advanced Therapy award by meeting specific criteria that reduce the time between an eligible patient’s arrival at the hospital and treatment to remove the clot causing the stroke as part of their thrombectomy center.

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