Children’s Direct Physician Access Line Offers “One Stop” Telephone Access to Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine Physicians
Referring physicians desiring quick and easy access to St. Louis Children’s Hospital (SLCH) and Washington University School of Medicine physicians need to remember just one telephone number: 800.678.HELP (4357). Called Children’s Direct, this access line is a 24/7 immediate link for referring physicians when they need to admit a patient, dispatch the hospital's transport team, obtain urgent or routine consultations, schedule appointments with specialists, or request patient information. In addition, physicians may use Children’s Direct to register for continuing medical education (CME) sessions or to make inquiries regarding any topic related to Children’s Hospital.
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“In essence, this is a concierge service designed to save time for our referring physicians,” says Julie Bruns, director of the SLCH Answer Line/Children’s Direct. "It truly is a one-stop communication hub for anything a referring physician may need."
Admitting or Transporting Patients
When admitting or transporting a patient, referring physicians and hospitals calling Children's Direct at 800.678.HELP will speak with a pediatric nurse or facilitator. In most cases, the nurse will immediately arrange a conference call among the referring physician, an accepting physician at SLCH and the call facilitator, who together will develop a plan for the transfer and admission. In addition, key information about the patient will be documented so that preparations can be made for the patient's arrival. The physician at SLCH will provide medical oversight of the patient by phone during the transport.
"When calling about a patient admission, referring physicians and hospitals will always have access to Children's Direct pediatric nurses," says Bruns. "Their medical knowledge and background is a vital component to making this process go smoothly, carefully and quickly."
Children's Direct has a process to notify physicians when their patient is admitted to the hospital. During the course of patients' stays, referring physicians may receive updates from their patients' care team by calling Children's Direct.
Access to Pediatric Specialists
Among Children’s Direct’s roles is facilitating requests from referring physicians for urgent consultations with specialists. Through the commitment of the Washington University specialists, these consults happen within minutes of receiving a call. Physicians’ staff members may also take advantage of this service to schedule patient appointments with our attending physicians. Children's Direct facilitators will not only set up the appointment and follow-up with the physicians’ office, but also will contact the patient’s family with the time and any further instructions they need.“We offer a similar service to WUSM physicians needing to quickly contact community physicians about their referred patients, a ‘reverse consult’. We act as the liaison so that neither physician needs to be tied up on the phone,” says Bruns.“Our goal is to ensure convenience for whomever uses the service,” says Davina Hyatt, Children’s Direct supervisor. “We’ll do the legwork and let the physicians and their staff members keep focusing on patient care.”
Children’s Direct hours are 24 hours, 7 days a week. For additional information about the service, contact its supervisor, Davina Hyatt, through the Children’s Direct number, 800.678.HELP (4357).