Mount Sinai First in Region Offering Telehealth Visits for Low-Acuity 911 Ambulance Calls
Unique program keeps patients with less severe conditions out of the Emergency Department, saving them time and money
Mount Sinai Health System has become the first health system in New York, and one of the first major academic health centers across the country, to offer telehealth services to select patients who call 911 with low-acuity injuries and conditions. This effort, led by Mount Sinai’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in collaboration with its Department of Emergency Medicine, is part of a federal pilot program called Emergency Triage, Treat, and Transport, or ET3.
Mount Sinai ambulances are dispatched to roughly 100,000 911 calls a year. About 10 percent of those calls involve low-acuity patients with conditions such as minor injuries or a cold, or patients who call 911 to get medication filled or want transportation to a doctor’s appointment because they have difficulty coordinating their health care. These patients don’t require an emergency room visit; however, EMS is required to bring them there. ET3 aims to keep thousands of these patients from having to go to emergency departments by finding different ways to treat them, saving them hours of time and in some cases thousands of dollars in bills.
“This program is exciting because it’s a new and innovative way for EMS to deliver patient care where they are and connect them to services they need without having to come to the Emergency Department,” explains Kevin Chason, DO, Medical Director for The Mount Sinai Hospital EMS group. “911 is no longer equal to an emergency department visit. Now a mobile medical team can offer more patient-centered options, and in the future it could connect patients to services in addition to telemedicine or urgent care, such as bringing patients to places like a dialysis center or primary care office where the patient is known.”
When someone calls 911 under this new pilot program, and a Mount Sinai ambulance arrives, the emergency medical technicians and paramedics do their standard patient assessment. If they determine a patient does not require emergency care and meets specific criteria, crews stay on site and use tablets to connect to the Mount Sinai command center. Within minutes, an emergency medicine provider connects with the patient on the screen and provides telehealth care. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The program will expand beyond telehealth services within the next few months. It will help get patients to a Mount Sinai Urgent Care location for more treatment if an Emergency Department visit isn’t required. ET3 can also connect patients with behavioral health services and help get them to an alternate destination for care.
ET3 is currently available for nine of Mount Sinai’s 19 ambulances which are linked to several of Mount Sinai Health System’s Emergency Departments including The Mount Sinai Hospital on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, Mount Sinai Queens, and Mount Sinai Brooklyn. By early 2023, organizers plan to have all ambulances equipped with this service and involve all seven of Mount Sinai Health System’s Emergency Departments.
“ET3 is a great example of our Health System moving from volume to value. We are delivering high-quality care at the lowest possible cost and we are excited about the opportunity that this presents for our Health System,” says Nicholas Gavin, MD, Vice Chair of Population Health and Clinical Innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
ET3 is a five year pilot program, but Mount Sinai anticipates this program will continue beyond the pilot phase and that all EMS services in New York City will be able to offer this to any patient calling 911.
About the Mount Sinai Health System
Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with more than 43,000 employees working across eight hospitals, over 400 outpatient practices, nearly 300 labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time — discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.
Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 7,300 primary and specialty care physicians; 13 joint-venture outpatient surgery centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and more than 30 affiliated community health centers. We are consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Hospitals, receiving high "Honor Roll" status, and are highly ranked: No. 1 in Geriatrics and top 20 in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Diabetes/Endocrinology, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Neurology/Neurosurgery, Orthopedics, Pulmonology/Lung Surgery, Rehabilitation, and Urology. New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked No. 12 in Ophthalmology. U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Children’s Hospitals” ranks Mount Sinai Kravis Children's Hospital among the country’s best in several pediatric specialties. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: It is consistently ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools," aligned with a U.S. News & World Report "Honor Roll" Hospital, and top 20 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding and top 5 in the nation for numerous basic and clinical research areas. Newsweek’s “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals” ranks The Mount Sinai Hospital as No. 1 in New York and in the top five globally, and Mount Sinai Morningside in the top 20 globally.