The National Capital Conference on Emergency Medicine (NCCEM) will be taking place from February 10th to 11th this year in Ottawa. This much-anticipated event has been a leader in innovative Emergency Medicine (EM) teaching for the past 30 years. Over the two-day event, the NCCEM offers a series of didactic lectures, quizzes, interactive workshops and hands-on simulation labs for EM. It will be a great opportunity for ER physicians to share best practices with colleagues, members and partners in the medical sector.
The Challenges Canadian Emergency Rooms Face
Canadian emergency rooms (ERs) face several challenges, including a shortage of qualified professionals. According to a study conducted by the ACMU, CMFC and CRMCC, Canada lacks 478 ER physicians - and this number is expected to jump to 1071 in 2020. Overcrowded ERs are caused, in part, by a shortage of family physicians, according to the CFP, the official journal of the College of Family Physicians in Canada. Because citizens don’t have access to a family physician, they are inclined to go to their local ER for non-urgent medical care. In addition, Ottawa’s 60-million-dollar cutbacks in health funding over the next 10 years will mostly likely incite ERs to find and adopt new solutions to overcome shortages in physicians.
The Forgotten Problem: Communication
Apart from the human resources and financial problems that often capture our attention, we tend to forget that the efficiency of ER departments is impacted by the level, quality and means of communication between professionals and administrative personnel. And this is where PetalMD’s solutions come into play. According to a study conducted by Spyglass Consulting Group, 53% of nurses have difficulties in identifying which physician is available in the ER department. This confusion most likely explains the results of another study, which was carried out by two hospitals affiliated with University of Toronto, which found that 14% of pager alerts are sent to physicians that are not on call. PetalMD’s solution helps to clarify, facilitate and accelerate communication between all professionals an ER department by eliminating telephone ping-pong between physicians and administrative assistants. Everyone has access to the same information at the same time and on any mobile device. As PetalMD’s CEO indicated during an interview with Devenir Entrepreneur, the four main enemies of the healthcare system are: pagers, fax machines, telephones and Microsoft Excel. To drastically reduce the risk of error and confusion, ER departments should implement one communication channel that is seamlessly integrated with physicians’ schedules.