Posted on: December 27, 2017

If you’ve ever been in a hospital emergency room (ER), you know they’re notorious for long wait times.

Why the long waits? There are lots of reasons that can vary from patients whose conditions are more severe than your own to how quickly providers can access a patients’ medical records.

While some of these circumstances are out of your control—there are things you can do to reduce your wait time for care. Hixny gives you the ability to allow doctors and nurses to access your complete medical history simply by accessing a secure system. You just need to sign a consent form, and the medical staff caring for you can see the information they need more quickly than ever before. That can help them treat you more efficiently and reduce the amount of time you spend waiting.

If you find yourself in the ER, here are three things you can do to ensure you get seen by a doctor sooner:

1. Let the ER staff know you’ve signed a consent when you arrive.

When you first check into the ER, you’ll be seen at a registration desk. After explaining what brings you to the ER, ask whether your Hixny consent preferences are on file. In the Capital District of New York, every hospital is connected to Hixny. Signing a Hixny consent form means the hospital medical providers involved in your care will have safe, secure access to your medical history. And that lets them give you the best care possible. (Related: How to Safely Share Your Health Records)

Plus, health information exchanges like Hixny can reduce the time it takes to get outside medical records by nearly an hour. That quicker access to medical records has impressive results: It reduces ER visit time by an average of 52 minutes, cuts costs by more than a thousand dollars, and reduces your likelihood of being admitted to the hospital.

2. Tell the triage nurse you have signed a Hixny consent.

Your next step after you sign in at the registration desk will probably be to see the triage nurse. The triage nurse evaluates your condition and prioritizes your need for healthcare among other patients in the ER. Make sure the triage nurse knows that you have a signed consent form so she or he can look at your medical history for information that could affect the priority of your care.

When the clinical staff knows your consent is on file, they know they can quickly access the complete 360-degree view of your medical history. They’ll be aware of your allergies, as well as any medications, procedures and tests you’ve had in the past. That’s important, since it can be hard to remember everything when you’re in an emergency situation.

3. Help eliminate unnecessary tests.

If an ER doctor says they need to order lab work, imaging or other tests, ask them to check your Hixny record to determine if the tests are necessary. You may have had similar tests recently that your doctor can use instead. That can save expense, as well as the time it takes to repeat the tests and wait for results. Additional tests may still be necessary, but reminding your doctor to check your records can help avoid time spent on tests you’ve already had.

ER staff members don’t always check to see if you have signed consent on file. Even though they’re required to stay connected to Hixny, it may not be part of their established workflow.

But access to your medical records through Hixny can help healthcare providers speed your treatment, reduce unnecessary tests and make a more accurate diagnosis. That’s why it is important that you make sure you remind them to check whenever you visit the ER.