March 3, 2022
ER Visit? Families Should Stay Connected and Here's Why
I’m Stephanie, an Account Executive here at Vital. I’m also a wife, a mom, a daughter, a granddaughter and an aunt. I wear a lot of hats outside my day job, but helping navigate my family’s health care is one of my most important roles. Over the last year, 3 family members visited emergency rooms for various health concerns. In all 3 instances, I felt the anxiety that often emerges when a family member visits the ER. As someone who actively navigates health care decisions for my family, I struggled to know exactly what I could do to help during their ER visit.
Real-time updates are needed, but can cause more stress
We know emergency room visits are stressful for patients. But more often than not, family members also feel stress and anxiety, whether or not they are able to be in-person with their loved one during their visit. Family members are left confused, worried and stressed. Due to COVID visitor policies, I wasn’t able to accompany any of my family members. It is so stressful to not know what’s happening with your loved one once they enter those doors. With each encounter, I had so many questions for the staff I wanted to ask – “Are they still in the waiting room? I wonder if they’ve been seen by a Dr. yet? ” and “I wonder what kind of tests they are running?” and “I wonder who is taking care of them?”.
When my grandmothers were in the ER (yes, both of them were in the ER a week apart), my aunts (who are the medical decision makers) were not only having to communicate with the doctors and staff at the hospital, but they were also communicating with family members still at home: their brothers and sisters, their children and all the grandchildren.
It’s a heavy burden taking care of an aging parent. Add the stress of an ER visit along with the real-time communication need, it can be overwhelming for the one person accompanying the patient. All of a sudden this person bears the responsibility of relaying a lot of complex information to a lot of concerned people waiting at home – texting and calling loved ones with updates. Things can get lost in translation, especially medical information that isn’t the easiest to quickly and accurately communicate.
Making an impact, helping other families
At the end of the day, we are all patients and health care is a huge part of all of our lives. I get out of bed each morning grateful that I get the opportunity to work with health systems to implement Vital so that families, like mine, don’t have to be in the dark during a loved one’s ER visit. I have the chance, in a small way, to impact other mothers, wives, and granddaughters.
Vital’s family share feature, in my opinion, humanizes the health care experience for patients. With that simple text link, patients can share their ER visit status with their loved ones who cannot be with them during a hospital visit. It lets them see how long they are expected to be there (thanks to Vital’s robust artificial intelligence algorithms). With one click, they can share all the details relating to their visit, including if labs/imaging have been ordered, who is on their care team, and where they are in the process. It even gives families the COVID visitor policies and parking information for the hospital.
Vital has taken what is normally an extremely stressful situation for patients and their families – and with features like Family Sharing – is alleviating some of that stress. I know that every day my colleagues and I are working hard to ensure that all patients have access to this important, meaningful technology. We have a passion for our work, because we are patients, too – just like you.