Observation Medicine Playing Bigger Role in the ER

Traditional observation units often focus on chest pain and a few other diagnosis. But as the health care market continues to change, so has the need to decrease length of stay, decrease re-admissions, and streamline patent care.

Accordingly, our Observation Services at Western Maryland Health System continues to grow. We have physically expanded from ten to twenty beds and we have expanded the scope and complexity of the type of patients we care for as well.

Emergency providers and those trained in observation medicine are experts in efficient, focused, rapid medical evaluations. Our observation services have protocols to evaluate and treat transient ischemic attacks, deep venous thrombosis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, dehydration, pneumonia, and undifferentiated abdominal pain. Using nurse practitioners with physician oversight, the observation unit is a cost-effective way to deliver high quality, efficient care.

If the patient’s workup reveals a condition that requires further care, an admission to the hospital is arranged. Those that are well and have completed their workup will go home, typically within 20 hours. All indicators point to continued growth in the area of observational medicine and those of us associated with Observational Services are thrilled to be leading the way.