Modernizing Emergency Care

New medical technology has revolutionized how healthcare professionals communicate, process information and work with patients and each other. This is most apparent in emergency care. EMS technologies such as digital communication tools allow physicians and nurses to uncover symptoms, track data and administer necessary treatments in real time.

The Latest Medical Technology

The following innovative emergency medical care services have transformed the way health care professionals service incoming patients:

  • Miniaturization of Imaging Systems and Diagnostic Equipment
  • Point of care ultrasound equipment (POCUS) allows emergency care physicians to identify illnesses and injuries like gallstones, internal bleeding, acute heart failure, and kidney obstructions much more easily. EMS health care professionals can search with a dedicated imaging system. The latest medical technology has also extended to handheld devices that can be used bedside.

    Non-invasive laboratory testing can also be performed bedside through a handheld device that transmits results wirelessly to a patient’s electronic medical record. This new medical technology eliminates the need to transport samples to and from a laboratory.

    CT scanners have always been expensive and large. These systems are not always accessible immediately for emergency medical services. Modern miniaturized CT scanners are wireless and portable and can be transported quickly to a patient’s bedside.

  • Online Emergency Care Check In
  • Across the U.S. many emergency medical services have set up an online check-in process for the patient through a mobile device. EMS check-in involves entering such personal information as health insurance and an emergency contact. Registration can take place in a car, at home, in the EMS waiting room, or at the bedside in the treatment area. This quickens the preliminary paperwork process and alleviates the burden on the patient and an already overworked triage unit.

  • Patient Flow Software
  • Today’s nursing staff no longer needs to wander back and forth throughout the halls, documenting which beds are empty. Now, patient flow is managed by software that tracks where patients are located and where they are not, inside the ER. Patient flow systems can identify a bed that is available by specialty, making registration and wait times faster and more streamlined. This software improves EMS communications across all departments and expedites both intake and discharge patient procedures.

  • Locating Systems in Real-Time
  • Much like patient flow software, locating systems operate in real-time, digitizing patient data at any stage throughout the treatment course. This latest medical technology can also be adjusted to track movement in the EMS facility by applying locator tags to beds, staff, patients, and equipment. This transmission location information allows EMS practitioners to track movement and manage time and health care more efficiently. In addition, this advanced technology helps hospital administrators standardize care, analyze workflow, eliminate waste and identify best practices.

Importance of Digital Imaging

At Angleton Emergency Room we are dedicated to providing convenient, quality and efficient care, for this reason, we use digital imaging for diagnosing our patient’s condition. We know that in an emergency patients want quick answers and with digital imaging, we can provide those answers even quicker. Some of the benefits of digital imaging may include:

  • Less Radiation – A lot of patients have questions regarding radiation and diagnostic imaging, when using digital radiography, we can lower the dose needed. The digital image receptors are more sensitive to low levels of radiation when compared to film.
  • Quicker Answers – Using digital imaging allows us to get images almost instantaneously, in comparison to the 10-20 minutes it takes to setup and process film imaging. This will allow Doctors to review your diagnostic imaging faster than it would take with traditional radiography methods.
  • Better Images – Digital Imaging also provides a higher resolution image than film radiography, allowing the image to be magnified or manipulated after processing. This can allow Doctors to get a better look at anatomical features they might not see on traditional film.
  • Portability – Using digital imaging for radiography allows the images to be stored and shared more easily, whether it be via the cloud or a CD. This can allow transfer to a primary care manager, or another physician extremely fast and easy.
  • Archivability – Digital Imaging also allows historical data to be stored easier. Whether you need records immediately or to hang on to for future Doctor appointments, digital imaging allows for easier archiving of your medical history.

At Angleton Emergency Room, we try to ensure every patient has a compassionate, convenient and quality visit. We are dedicated to using the latest technology for our patients, such as Digital Imaging. The use of this technology allows us to provide a quicker, better experience for each and every one of our patients.

Freestanding ERs vs. Urgent Cares

It’s a long weekend and you’re playing volleyball at the park when you sprain your ankle. You’re preparing Tuesday night dinner and miss the carrots to hit your thumb. Your son’s cold just won’t go away. Your first instinct might once have been to go to the hospital emergency room, but that destination is no longer the only option available when it comes to immediate health care. There are now alternatives that are just as effective and possibly less costly, these being freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care centers. While both offer high-quality care, there are differences between the two that should affect which you choose according to the situation.

Freestanding Emergency Rooms

Freestanding emergency rooms offer the same level of care that emergency rooms attached to hospitals do: they have state-of-the-art equipment, board-certified physicians, medications on the premises, and offer labs and x-rays. The upside of these ERs is that the wait time is greatly reduced compared to an ER attached to a hospital. They cannot admit critically ill people (these patients are transferred to nearby hospitals via ambulance when needed), and they don’t perform surgeries. This leaves time to tend to illnesses and injuries such as strep throat or cuts needing small stitches, which generally don’t take too long to treat, and thus get patients in and out quickly. They are also open 24 hours a day. Patient satisfaction is usually ranked very high at freestanding emergency rooms due to the high quality and level of care and short wait time, which many feel makes it worth the visit.

Urgent Care Centers

Urgent care centers, on the other hand, are a little more different than your standard hospital ER. At an urgent care center, you’ll more likely be treated by a nurse practitioner instead of a certified physician, but you can still feel assured that the quality of care and customer service will be on the same level of a freestanding emergency room, and your wait time will still be considerably less than in a hospital waiting room. Urgent care centers accept Medicare as well as private insurance. They may not have a full lab on site, but they do have x-rays available. Unlike freestanding emergency rooms, urgent care centers are not open 24 hours a day. Still, they have much more flexible hours than your primary care provider, providing an excellent alternative when your condition requires urgent attention and you don’t have time to wait for an appointment with your doctor.

Angleton ER: Your Immediate Health Care Alternative

Both freestanding emergency rooms and urgent care centers are excellent alternatives to a hospital emergency room if your condition is not critical. They offer a high quality of care and a much shorter wait time. It’s important to know the difference between the two so that you don’t overpay, as many patients have who were unaware of the distinctions between the two. The most important factor to consider when choosing where to go is the severity of your injury or illness. Urgent care centers can tend to injuries and illnesses such as sprains/strains and other closed fractures, lacerations, and colds. Freestanding emergency rooms can tend to more serious conditions such as abdominal or chest pains, serious infections, seizures, and heart attacks. In the case of a more serious immediate emergency, a nearby emergency facility such as Angleton ER would be the best place to go.

Common Causes of Abdominal Pain

Everybody experiences stomach discomfort at some point in their lives. Oftentimes, the causes of abdominal pain are not life threatening. Diagnosis and treatment are often uncomplicated. But sometimes the source of pain can be a serious condition. It is essential to know which symptoms can be easily managed at home and which require medical treatment.

Frequent Causes of Abdominal Pain

Pain can show up in many ways, you may experience cramps, a dull stomachache or sharp pain. The underlying problem may result in upper abdominal pain, lower left abdominal pain or right abdominal pain, or the discomfort may travel. There are many causes of abdominal pain, including:

  • Indigestion
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Food allergies
  • Stomach virus
  • Menstrual discomfort
  • Appendicitis
  • Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS
  • Food poisoning
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD
  • Excessive gas
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Ulcer
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Hernia
  • Gallstones or kidney stones
  • Endometriosis
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Urinary tract infection

When Abdominal Pain is a Sign of a Serious Medical Condition

If you experience frequent or severe abdominal pain along with any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention.

  • Fever
  • Vomiting for more than two days
  • Dehydration
  • Constipation, especially if it is accompanied by vomiting
  • Painful or frequent urination
  • Abdomen is painful or tender to the touch
  • Pain due to trauma to the abdomen
  • Pain lasting more than several hours

Seek emergency medical care if you are:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Passing bloody or black tarry stools
  • Have a hard time breathing
  • Experiencing pain during pregnancy

Since there area plethora of reasons for abdominal pain, a comprehensive exam is needed to determine the root cause. Your doctor will discuss your symptoms and ask a series of questions that may include the following:

  • Describe the type of pain you are feeling? Is it localized pain or do you feel it throughout your abdomen?
  • Are you experiencing upper abdominal pain? Is it right abdominal pain or lower left abdominal pain?
  • Are you experiencing stabbing, or severe pain, is it a dull ache?
  • When are you feeling this pain? Is it constant? Does it occurearly in the day or at night? If the pain is sporadic, how long does it last when it comes? Do you feel it after eating specific foods or after indulging in alcohol? Do you feel the pain during menstruation?
  • How long have you been suffering from this pain?
  • Is there a chance of pregnancy?
  • Have you experienced a recent injury?

After a thorough evaluation, your doctor may order a series of tests to look further into the cause of your abdominal pain. An x-ray, CT scan, endoscopy, ultrasound or some type or enema may be performed. You may also need to supply a stool, blood or urine sample.

Texas is Heating Up: Here’s How You Can Avoid Heat Stroke

If you’ve lived in Texas for most of your life, then you probably know that although it’s only spring time, around this time of year we’re already experiencing what feels like summer. Our weather can get hot really fast, and because of this, unfortunately, some people develop a condition known as heat stroke by the time we hit the real summer months. Want to stay cool throughout the spring and all summer? Here’s what you should know about heat stroke and how to prevent it:

What is Heat Stroke?

Heat stroke—also known as sun stroke—occurs when the body temperature dramatically increases over a period of time.Oftentimes, this condition is seen with dehydration, which is what happens when your body lacks the water it needs to continue functioning regularly. Other symptoms of heat stroke include:

  • Body temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius) or higher
  • Altered mental state or behavior
  • Headache
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid/shallow breathing
  • Increased heart rate

How to Prevent Heat Stroke

The best way to prevent heat stroke from occurring is to make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoiding vigorous physical activities in hot and humid weather. By staying hydrated, you’re providing your body with enough water to maintain its normal functions, such as maintaining your body temperature by allowing you to sweat. In addition, avoiding or reducing how much vigorous activity you perform outdoors in the hot sun will significantly reduce your chances of dehydration as well as heat stroke. Other ways you can prevent heat stroke include:

  • Wearing loose, lightweight clothing – By wearing loose and light clothing, you can allow your body room to breathe and sweat efficiently and effectively.
  • Wear sunblock or sunscreen – A sunburn can actually affect your body’s ability to cool itself, so it’s important that you properly protect your skin against sunburn by wearing sunblock or sunscreen in addition to sunglasses or a sunhat for full protection.

By keeping these tips in mind, you can safely perform activities outdoors without being at risk for heat stroke. If you experience any of the heat stroke symptoms listed above, please stop by our facility so we can provide you with prompt treatment.

What to Do in the Event of a Medical Emergency

The most important way to always be ready for an emergency is to remain prepared for the unexpected. Map out the fastest route to the nearest emergency center like Angleton ER before a problem occurs.

Maintain a list of up-to-date emergency contact numbers and keep it posted by the telephone. Make sure everyone who lives in the household, even young children, know how to call these important numbers. General emergency contact numbers include:

  • 911
  • Doctor’s office
  • Ambulance
  • Poison control
  • Police department
  • Fire department
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Work

If you suffer from a chronic illness, make it a habit of wearing a medical identification tag. The elderly, particularly those who live alone, should have access to an in-home emergency response system.

How to Help Someone in Need

  • The first step is always to remain calm and call 911. If necessary, and if you are trained to do so, start CPR or rescue breathing.
  • If the ailing person is unconscious or semiconscious, place him or her in a recovery position and wait for the ambulance. Never move a person in case there is a neck injury.

  • Once the person arrives at the ER, the patient will immediately be evaluated. Those with life-threatening conditions or loss of a limb will be treated before all else. Less urgent situations will be required to wait.

Always call 911 or your local emergency number if:

  • Someone is experiencing a heart attack, a severe allergic reaction or some other life-threating condition.
  • A person’s condition worsens while traveling to the emergency center.
  • In cases like a neck injury or car accident where moving the patient may cause further injury.
  • The injured person needs the support and expertise of paramedics.
  • Traffic delays get in the way of getting the ailing person to the emergency center promptly.

5 Tips to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke

One is never too old – or too young – to take care of the heart.

A research study says heart attacks and diseases are the number one killer in the United States. And with the help of advanced studies, a lot of measures have been discovered to prevent heart attack and heart disease. Add up these small changes to your daily routine, and you’ll get a powerful dose of heart disease prevention – no coronary care units or intra-aortic balloon pumps required!

Healthy Eating Habits

Eating healthy food is a key to preventing yourself from a lot of diseases. It is known to many that eating food items that are low in saturated fat, trans-fat and sodium is good for you. As a part of a healthy diet, include lots of fresh fruits, green leafy vegetables, salads, fiber-rich whole grains and protein-rich items like eggs and fish. Go for low-fat dairy products and limit sugar as much as you can.

Exercise

A lack of exercise will lead to fat accumulation, which can further lead to obesity. Studies indicate that walking 2-3 miles a day is optimal for good health and to maintain an active lifestyle. Exercise helps more than just burning calories. It activates the cells and genes that are beneficial to health in other ways. For example, yoga is another way to curb your anxiety and the effects of depression.

Avoid Smoking

This is the first thing to avoid. Smoking can lead you to many other major health problems besides heart disease; along with the heart, it affects other organs of your body too. Your smoking habit can also lead your family into major health problems by getting exposed to second-hand smoke.

Maintain a Healthy Blood Pressure

High blood pressure—better known as hypertension—is a silent killer as it attacks most individuals’ bodies without showing any symptoms. High blood pressure causes the wear and tear of the delicate inner lining of your blood vessels. The higher your blood pressure, the greater the risk. Genetics and increasing age raise these risks. Take less stress, and invest in a cuff-meter and measure your blood pressure every day.

Stay Informed

With medical science evolving every day, there are many treatments and solutions which are being discovered to reduce the risk of heart attacks. However, do not believe on any random advertisements or announcements. Consult your doctor regularly and share every detail about the problems affecting your body in your daily routine.

Monthly Body Check-Ups

Schedule an appointment with your physician every month and go through required diagnosis for better health and body awareness.

You can avoid heart problems in the future by being more aware, adopting a healthy lifestyle, and visiting your doctor regularly. At AngletonER, we have a panel of expert Cardiologists to treat you and see you as soon as you check in because – We Care About You.

Benefits of Freestanding Emergency Rooms

Freestanding emergency departments—emergency departments that are not attached or connected to a hospital—have grown in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. Since their surface in the 1970s, freestanding emergency rooms have been able to easily provide people with immediate care when they need it the most due to their often-convenient locations near communities and neighborhoods. But that’s not where these advantages stop; here are some of the benefits of freestanding emergency rooms:

24/7 Convenient Access to Emergency Care

Most, if not all, freestanding emergency rooms are typically open 24/7 or at least have extended operational hours, similarly to a hospital-based emergency department. Like mentioned before, many freestanding emergency rooms are located conveniently near towns so that you have better access to emergency care; if a freestanding ER is also open 24/7, then that means that you can have access to emergency care, including emergency physicians, nurses, lab and radiology technicians, as well as testing and advanced imaging—any time you need it.

In addition, receiving emergency care closer to home means that if you are more likely to be discharged home, and not forced to stay overnight unnecessarily. In fact, did you know that nearly 75-85% of patients are discharged home from a freestanding ER? With freestanding ERs, there are very few instances in which patients need to be admitted to a hospital. In special cases in which a patient will need hospital admission for their condition, freestanding ERs will often help send you to the right hospital fit for your needs, not just a hospital that’s nearby.

Quality Care that Matches Hospitals

Contrary to popular belief, freestanding emergency rooms actually have the right state-of-the-art equipment that allows them to achieve the same level of quality care that hospital emergency departments offer, even for the most serious of ailments and conditions, such as heart attacks and stroke. It’s for this reason that many patients never hesitate to visit a freestanding ER in the midst of a medical emergency.

If you ever find yourself in a medical emergency, never hesitate to stop by our Angleton ER facility for all of your immediate care needs!

3 Myths About Freestanding Emergency Rooms Explained

Each person has the hope that they will never have to visit an emergency room in their lifetime. However, accidents can happen at a moment’s notice, and it’s why emergency rooms exist. Unfortunately, if a sudden injury or illness occurs, many hesitate to go to a freestanding ER, because misconceptions about freestanding ERs keep them at bay; they will likely wait until they can schedule an appointment with their doctor, or drive to a hospital’s ER, prolonging crucial treatment they could immediately receive otherwise. For that reason, we’ve debunked these common myths about freestanding emergency rooms:

Myth #1: The wait time for freestanding ERs are too long.

In the ER, we don’t see patients in the traditional way like a doctor’s office would. Appointments aren’t made, and we don’t choose which patient we see next based on the order you walked in the door. Instead, we use a triage system to see patients, meaning that although we see all patients, whoever is the sickest or most injured will be seen first. Our job is to resolve life-threatening and other immediate conditions as quickly and efficiently as possible, and the triage system helps us decide who needs the most immediate care.

Myth #2: A freestanding ER cannot provide the same care as a hospital ER.

Freestanding ERs—or Emergency Care Centers—are licensed by the state to provide the same level of 24-hour emergency care and services as an emergency room based in a hospital, and just like the hospital ER, our freestanding ER is staffed with emergency-trained physicians and registered nurses at all times. In other words, the type of care you receive in a freestanding ER is the same quality care as a hospital’s. We recommend you visit our emergency care facility, however, because emergency care centers like ours are often more conveniently placed for you to have easier access to emergency care should you ever need it.

Myth #3: Freestanding emergency rooms are more expensive.

Freestanding ERs offer virtually the same rates as a hospital ER. While it is true that emergency care, in general, is more expensive than traditional care, it’s for good reason. With an emergency, services are performed with the utmost urgency and attention, so that you can receive the proper diagnosis and treatment to quickly resolve your condition before it becomes severely life-threatening.