Computer driven diagnosis at 3 TN Valley hospitals - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Computer driven diagnosis at 3 TN Valley hospitals

A new computer system cuts down on the time a patient and a patient's family must wait. (Source: WAFF) A new computer system cuts down on the time a patient and a patient's family must wait. (Source: WAFF)
DECATUR, AL (WAFF) -

Often times mental health patients are brought to hospitals and must wait on a mental health screener to arrive. This can make the patient and their family very anxious.

But three local hospitals are taking an initiative to reduce that anxiety level.

Amy Bryan is the Assessment and referral manager, at Decatur-Morgan West & Huntsville Hospital. They also service Athens-Limestone. She explains protocol when a psychiatric patient comes into the emergency room of a local hospital.

"We would actually go onsite. We would actually go into those ERs and see the patient," she said.

But a new computer system cuts down on the time a patient and a patient's family must wait.

"It saves a lot of time. It's very efficient," said Bryan. "You're not having to wait on the screener to arrive.  You simply get on the computer and connect and we go through a secure telehub company. And so it's HIPPA compliant, completely. Nothing is recorded."

Because of that, she says everything is confidential.

"We take the phone call from the emergency room, gather the paperwork that's needed as far as taking information, and get everything set up in our computer and connect with them. And all of this can be completed in as a matter of 15 minutes," said Bryan.

She says they move on in terms of treatment.

"We complete the telescreening and then we contact our psychiatrist at that point to determine the final disposition of what's going to happen with the patient," she said.

The nice thing about computers is they can not only do that evaluation in there but they can do it in a private room.

"We have the capability of the computer going up on the floor, so we've seen people on the ICU at Athens... so it's not just limited to the ER, that it's wherever you can move the computer around to," she said.

Bryan says they are also using this technology for neurology and stroke patients. 

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