CHS Innovations - Spur Convenience and Easy Access

Carolinas HealthCare System undertook a number of key initiatives in 2010 to make the delivery of healthcare services more accessible and convenient for patients and employers alike.

Starting in August, CHS hospitals in a five-county area began posting wait times for emergency departments. This information, available on both the Internet and mobile devices, helps patients decide which facility can provide the shortest wait time.

Wait times are updated every 15 minutes, each displaying for the participating hospitals. These hospitals have achieved consistent success in beating wait times monitored by the Centers for Disease Control, which average about 55 minutes nationally. Later in the fall, we enhanced the reporting system to include 17 urgent care centers.

In addition, emergency department wait times, along with other important medical data, are also available for residents and travelers using wireless devices. The new mobile version of our website (www.carolinasmedicalcenter.org), launched during 2010, supports most commonly used smart phones.

CHS Corporate Health & Wellness, which works closely with the business community, conducted more than 290 health fairs and wellness services during 2010 in a 14-county area around Charlotte. Services also include the on-site scheduling of physician appointments, providing services to more than 160,000 employees. Other services include occupational health and direct medical care for companies that utilize Carolinas HealthCare to promote on-site clinics and employee wellness.

Carolinas HealthCare continued to expand its Healthy@Home programs, which are designed to keep patients out of the hospital and in the environment best suited for their comfort and well-being – their own home. Healthy@Home services include skilled nursing; physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation; social work; nutrition; home medical equipment; and numerous therapies including respiratory and infusion therapy.

Healthy@Home continued to expand in 2010. The addition of Blue Ridge Home HealthCare in August gave Healthy@Home a presence in 13 North Carolina counties.

A system-wide marketing effort was launched during 2010 to remind patients that their primary care physician is the key to their “medical home.” When more specialized care is necessary, these CHS physicians refer patients to a convenient, well-coordinated network that includes the region's most experienced and trusted doctors.

The year 2010 also saw extraordinary success at Carolinas HealthCare’s first healthcare pavilion, CMC-Steele Creek. Facilities like this make emergency care much more accessible to population bases that don't have a hospital immediately nearby.

CMC-Steele Creek’s innovative design combines a free-standing emergency department with a medical office building, laboratory, X-ray facilities and retail pharmacy.

Within two months of opening in late 2009, CMC-Steele Creek had already met its sixmonth projection for patient volumes, and the medical practices in its complex were seeing steady growth.

Based on that success, Carolinas HealthCare proceeded to start construction on two additional similar facilities. These include CMC-Kannapolis and CMC-Huntersville. Another healthcare pavilion, CMC-Waxhaw, was in the final stages of completion.

CHS created new urgent care options during 2010. Its first-ever Children's Urgent Care opened in the Cotswold neighborhood of Charlotte. Uptown Express Care opened in a high-rise office building with daytime hours to accommodate office workers in Charlotte's main business district. In Lincoln County, East Lincoln Urgent Care Express in Denver to serve a rapidly growing area near Lake Norman.