Health Life

Utilizing telemedicine in the ER can reduce wait times and patient length of stay

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Telemedicine has become more common given the current global pandemic. COVID-19 has limited doctor’s office and hospital visits to ensure safety for everyone. But rather than diminish the quality of care, new research in the INFORMS journal Information Systems Research finds that increasing wider use of telemedicine in the emergency room (ER) can yield positive results for patients and providers alike.

The study, “Does Telemedicine Reduce Emergency Room Congestion? Evidence from New York State,” looks at all visits in New York from 2010 to 2014. The researchers found, on average, availability in the ER significantly reduces average patients’ length of stay (LOS), which is partially driven by the flexible resource allocation.

Overcrowding in ERs is a common and nagging problem. It not only is costly for hospitals, but also compromises care quality and patient experience. Study authors Susan Lu of Purdue University, Shujing Sun of the University of Texas at Dallas and Huaxia Rui of the University of Rochester say finding ways to improve ER care delivery is important, as long as it actually works.

“The adoption of telemedicine leads to a larger reduction in ER length of stay when there is a demand surge or supply shortage,” said Lu, a professor in the Krannert School of Management at Purdue. “This improvement does not come at the expense of care quality or patient cost.”

The authors replicated their findings using annual U.S. data and found that ER telemedicine adoption also significantly reduced average patients’ waiting time, which suggests that the LOS reduction partially comes from the reduction of waiting time.

According to the National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, from 2000 to 2015, the number of ER visits in the United States increased by more than 25%. This congestion in the ER

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Breastfeeding and pregnancy could lower risk of early menopause

Breastfeeding can offer many health benefits for women and their babies. Now there’s another potential one.

A recent study found that women who breastfeed may have a lower risk of early menopause. Early menopause—menopause before age 45— can lead to faster bone loss, cognitive decline, and heart disease.

The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, found that women who breastfed exclusively for seven to 12 months had a 28% lower risk of early menopause than those who breastfed for less than a month. Women who breastfed for a total of 25 months or more had a 26% lower risk.

The study’s results also suggest that pregnancy itself may reduce the risk of early menopause. Compared with women who had never been pregnant or who had been pregnant for less than six months, those who had a full-term pregnancy had an 8% lower risk of early menopause. Those who had two pregnancies had a 16% lower risk, and those who had three pregnancies had a 22% lower risk.

Researchers theorize that reproductive events that slow or halt ovulation, such as pregnancy and breastfeeding, may be associated with delayed menopause.

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