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Emergency Medicine: Current Challenges and a New Solution Aimed at Improving Care

April 19, 2021

By Julie Gould

Jeremy Kenter, DO, is a board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician and the Chief Medical Officer of Ally Medical Emergency Rooms. Jeremy Kenter, DO, board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician and chief medical officer of Ally Medical Emergency Rooms, breaks down challenges in emergency medicine, and discusses Ally Medical ER—a system of emergency room facilities that are fully equipped to treat both minor and major medical emergencies for children and adults in a safe, stress-free setting.

Can you discuss the challenges emergency medicine is currently facing? 

Currently, the emergency medical system is burdened with capacity issues and has seen significant pressure on its resources resulting from the pandemic. Additionally, this is being compounded with a large aging population, as more people are struggling with chronic diseases—and, as a result, ERs are dealing with complex illnesses requiring them to allot more time to each patient. As the emergency department is open 24/7, it is not uncommon to see crowded ERs with long wait times, crowded hospitals leading to admitted patients waiting in the ER, and physicians experiencing burnout—all of which impact patient care.

Can you talk a little about Ally Medical Emergency Room? What is the goal of these centers? 

Ally Medical ER was founded in 2015 and is owned and managed by board-certified physicians driving to reinvent emergency care—with more caring and less waiting. Ally Medical’s physicians evaluate each patient’s condition to develop the most appropriate care plan and closely monitor all patients. All of Ally Medical’s Emergency Room locations are fully equipped to treat both minor and major medical emergencies for children and adults in a safe, stress-free setting. The ER facility provides on-site testing and imaging services that fast-track diagnosis, treatment, and the stabilization of patients with acute illnesses and injuries.

Ally Medical Emergency Rooms’ goal is to offer the highest standard of emergency medical services to the community.

How will these centers help shape the future of care? What can health systems learn from these centers?

Hospitals right now face surging patient volumes which can affect their ability to respond to emergencies. They also focus on non-care related metrics and face physician burnout due to overburdening, which leads to deteriorating care in the ER.

Freestanding ERs offer an alternative–and the alternative is resulting in a better experience for the patient. Hospital systems are critical to communities, but patients will select care that is more centered to their needs, when given the option.  Our goal is to improve patient outcomes by providing world-class emergency medicine. As an organization, Ally Medical is committed to providing the highest standard of care to the community.

Ally Medical operates five freestanding emergency rooms across Texas - Bastrop, South and Central Austin, Clear Lake, and Round Rock. Residents in rural communities, like Bastrop, leverage Ally Medical as a key community health care provider, giving residents immediate and improved access to emergency care. For example, snake bites are a significant issue in this community, and the accessibility provides patients with a convenient resource for the urgent treatment they need.  

In our more densely populated communities, Austin - for example, Ally Medical offers an alternative to often crowded ERs with long wait times. Open 24/7, Ally Medical freestanding ERs have transfer agreements with major hospital systems, enabling patients to be stabilized and transferred as needed. The ability to provide care without wait times allows us to identify and treat severe medical conditions quickly before they progress.  

Our physicians and medical staff are not burdened with commonplace metrics, often found in large hospital systems that juggle many stakeholders. As a physician-owned provider, we focus on the practice of medicine and the outcomes of patients. With a lower volume of patients, health care professionals can provide a better patient experience. 

How do you increase the reach of these centers to continually help improve health outcomes among patients?

Ally Medical seeks to reshape emergency care’s future by offering a new and better way to treat medical emergencies. Ally Medical Emergency Rooms are designed to eliminate the wait and make patients feel more comfortable and less stressed.

Freestanding ERs were originally permitted to operate in Texas in 2009. Since this time, the industry has been evolving and gaining momentum. We see a growing demand and adoption of freestanding ERs in Texas. As we gain patient traffic and open new locations, we are growing awareness and accolades for care quality. The distinction is noticeable, and it is, in turn, driving adoption.

As a physician-owned health care provider, the underlying drivers of care are based on a rigorous focus on continuing education and emergency medicine advancement. COVID-19 is an example. Our health care teams were continually focused on the latest news and developments with the pandemic, again enabling us to provide care and utilize the most current tools in our arsenal to treat patients.

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Freestanding ERs should not be thought of as a step-down or beneath hospital emergency rooms, but as an equal that provides convenient care with more of a patient-experience focus. Health care ecosystems need to remain cooperative and focused on what’s best for the community.  

Each Ally Medical Emergency Room stands ready to help patients whenever there is a need for emergency or trauma care, with emergency physicians on duty 24/7. If a patient is worried about their health, Ally Medical ERs accepts walk-ins, and no appointment is required.

Ally Medical’s staff specializes in providing emergency care and trauma care, ranging from broken bones and other injuries to infections, allergy and asthma attacks, and severe stomach pain or chest pain that may indicate a severe condition.

We have treated COVID- 19 patients and helped diagnose patients concerned they had COVID-19 but had other severe conditions.

About Dr Jeremy Kenter

Jeremy Kenter, DO, is a board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician and the Chief Medical Officer of Ally Medical Emergency Rooms. He has spent ten years practicing Emergency Medicine in level 2 trauma centers, and started working with Ally Medical ER in 2015. He fell in love with the care model that Ally Medical ERs offer, and is extremely excited about the future. 

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