New Tele-ER service connects patients at home to immediate, appropriate care

Apr 18, 2021

Program is first of its kind among San Antonio hospitals

Home-400-x-300As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact San Antonio, many citizens remain apprehensive about going to the hospital when they’re feeling sick or are having an emergency for fear of contracting the virus. To help ease fears, provide a safe, swift and accurate diagnosis, and to help avoid delays in needed care, Baptist Health System has launched its new “Tele-ER” program. The program is the first-of-its-kind virtual ER health evaluation program in San Antonio. The service is offered for adults experiencing non-life-threatening illness but who need immediate diagnosis by an ER professional without the need to physically visit an emergency room. The service is available to all San Antonians to use from the safety and comfort of their home. All that is needed is a smartphone, laptop or desktop computer.

Here’s how it works:

Hours of operation for the Baptist Health System Tele-ER are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

  1. Call 210-297-5033.

    A nurse or member of our emergency team will ask you about your health problem and complete your registration. Basic information such as name, date of birth and insurance policy information will be needed.

  2. Book your Tele-ER appointment.

    A nurse will schedule your Tele-ER visit with an ER physician. If you have available, keep your thermometer, blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitor nearby.

  3. Have your smartphone, laptop, tablet or desktop computer ready. Click on the link the nurse provides you at the time of your appointment and enter the meeting ID. If you’re using a smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad), you’ll need to download the app and enter the meeting ID.

Baptist Health System uses a secure version of the ZOOM tele-remote system for its Tele-ER visits.

During the Tele-ER session, an ER nurse completes an ER triage and assessment to determine if the patient qualifies for a Tele-ER visit or if the patient needs an in-person visit. In the event the medical staff determines a patient needs to be seen in an ER, they will be instructed to visit their closest ER. If the patient cannot drive himself or herself to the ER, the nurse will contact 911 for them.

John Tully, M.D., medical director of Baptist Health System’s emergency departments, said the service, which was launched this past October, is already helping numerous citizens in their homes get the care they need quickly. “Through our new Tele-ER service, we are successfully connecting patients to immediate care so they don’t suffer the consequences of delaying care out of fear of COVID,” he said. “It is important, especially during this pandemic, that we offer patients more options for safe care and evaluation. We are proud to bring this new service to our community during such a critical time of need.” For more information and instructions on using the Tele-ER service, visit and click on the “Schedule a Tele-ER appointment” button on the home page. 

View the news story from CBS affiliate KENS-TV on this topic featuring Dr. John Tully, medical director of Emergency Departments at Baptist Health System

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