Population and Public Health

Transforming the ED Fast Track to a Virtual Visit Track to Reduce Emergency Department Length of Stay

Davies Award of Excellence
Worker outside hospital ER

In response to longer wait times and overcrowding in the Emergency Department (ED), Stanford Medicine introduced a Virtual Visit Track (VVT) program in 2020, which was accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The VVT aimed to expedite the evaluation of lower acuity patients by utilizing a remote physician, flipping the traditional telemedicine model. The patient was physically present in the ED, with access to various services, while the Stanford Medicine physician provided care remotely. This approach reduced the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during critical shortages and was successful in improving patient care in this context. The experience gained from this program has the potential to benefit other ED and acute care programs, especially those dealing with remote care, resource shortages and limited in-person evaluation capabilities.