The expedited appointments allow patients to quickly see a surgical expert at several Johns Hopkins locations in Maryland, including The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Johns Hopkins Health Care & Surgery Center — Green Spring Station, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Howard County General Hospital and Suburban Hospital. The goal is to schedule consultations for the same day when requests arrive before noon. For later requests, appointments are made for the following day.
“Fundamentally, the system helps us resolve a patient’s condition more efficiently,” says David Efron, chief of acute care surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. “It’s also a great option for primary care physicians who are concerned about the urgency of a patient’s case but don’t think it dictates a trip to the emergency department.”
The scheduling system identifies shorter time slots available on surgeons’ calendars —perfect for patient consultation appointments.
For some patients, the more efficient system spares them time in discomfort or pain, as well as money, by avoiding the emergency department. “In some cases, like an incarcerated inguinal hernia, the surgical evaluation will determine the urgency of the situation,” says Efron. “For truly emergent cases, we can triage the patient and send them to the ED ready for surgery. For others, we can turn an expensive ED visit into an elective surgery performed within a day or two.”
Efron explains that the system works best for simple, common problems, such as gallstones and other gallbladder problems; lumps and bumps, including lipomas, boils, cysts and skin tags; and straightforward incisional, inguinal or ventral hernias. “It isn’t designed for more complex issues like cancer that require fuller work-ups,” he says. It also is not for direct referrals.
To set proper expectations, Efron clarifies that not every patient leaves with a surgery date in hand, especially if another diagnostic test is needed first. “But,” he says, “the general rule of thumb applies: The sooner you see the surgeon, the sooner your surgery will be.”
Call 443-997-1508 for a same-day or next-day surgical consultation.
Published in Surgery Winter 2020