(EMERYVILLE, Calif.) Vituity is pleased to announce that Kanthi Kiran, MD, has been recognized by the American Association of Women Emergency Physicians (AAWEP) with the 2022 Outstanding Emergency Department Director Award.
Kiran currently leads the Vituity ED team at Sutter Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, California. She was chosen based on her outstanding leadership as well as her mentorship and professional development of women emergency physicians.
Kiran is a graduate of UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at UC Davis Health and a fellowship at Stanford University Hospital. Kiran has been a medical director since 2017 and was Sutter Memorial’s chief of staff from 2018 to 2020. She also served as the hospital’s media representative, promoting public health and dispelling false information during the pandemic.
Early in the coronavirus pandemic, Kiran rolled out an innovative teletriage program that allows physicians at home or in other parts of the ED to evaluate patients via telemedicine, placing initial orders and aiding the triage nurse in determining severity. Prior to the development of COVID-19 vaccines, this process protected both clinicians and patients from disease transmission.
Today, Kiran’s process remains valuable as a force multiplier during staffing shortages. Low-acuity patients can be discharged directly from triage, and complex patients benefit from expedited ED workups and a remote ordering process. Sicker patients are identified more quickly, and all patients receive more timely care.
Building on this success, Kiran also developed a telemedicine process to follow up with patients after discharge. During pandemic surges, many higher-acuity ED patients were discharged home due to lack of inpatient capacity. Kiran worked with stakeholders such as clinicians, social services, discharge planning, compliance, billing, and IT to create a telemedicine post-discharge follow-up clinic. ED physicians performed audio and video visits with these at-risk patients to ensure their health was improving and to troubleshoot any issues that might have arisen after discharge, such as difficulties obtaining home oxygen or prescriptions. Today, the program continues to serve discharged patients who lack access to primary care.
“It’s important to remember that these telemedicine processes were not health system or Vituity initiatives. These innovations were led directly by Dr. Kiran,” says Gregg Miller, chief medical officer at Vituity. “She saw a need, came up with a solution, and engaged the hospital and other stakeholders in program implementation. Her work likely saved lives by expanding hospital capacity during COVID surges to meet the crushing demands of her community.”
Miller also praised Kiran’s strengths as a leader and mentor: “When she first joined Sutter Memorial, she was the only woman out of over two dozen emergency physicians in the group. Thanks to her efforts, now more than one-third of the group are women, with a marked improvement in quality, camaraderie, and culture. Many of these women now serve in leadership positions in the ED and hospital.”
AAWEP is a section of the American College of Emergency Physicians that provides support, guidance, and education in personal and professional leadership skills to women emergency physicians, residents, and medical students. The AAWEP Outstanding ED Director Award is presented during the annual ACEP Scientific Assembly. Honorees are chosen by AAWEP’s awards committee.
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