ER Visit A Whole New Experience!
BRIDGEPORT, CT, September 23, 2010— Remember when a visit to the Emergency Room of a hospital meant long waits in crowded rooms before being evaluated, accompanied by feelings of pain or discomfort, nervousness, and at times even frustration? These days, a trip to the Michael J. Daly Center for Emergency and Trauma Care at St. Vincent’s does not stir up such memories but instead offers almost immediate triage and quick and safe diagnosis handled with aplomb by a caring and competent staff.
The new Emergency Department (ED) features a sparkling new high-tech physical plant, as well as a completely new approach to department staffing, communication and the triaging or evaluating of patients. Patients no longer experience the anxiety associated with long waits to be seen by staff members, who in turn are relieved of the frustration that resulted from not being able to provide timely care.
Several years ago the Medical Center undertook a major initiative to transform the culture of the ED, improving wait times and patient satisfaction.
“We set the bar at a best-in-class level,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Kerry Eaton, RN, MSN. “We knew our patients deserved the best, as did our staff, and we were not willing to settle for average performance.”
Shorter Wait Times
According to Jody Gerard, MD, FACEP, chairman and vice president of Emergency Medicine, “We have reduced our ‘door to doctor’ time from 93 minutes to 26 minutes, while improving our patient satisfaction to levels never seen before for St. Vincent’s emergency department.”
To reach this point, ED leadership, with significant staff input, implemented a “No-Wait” triage or evaluation process to speed the care of patients. The system’s success is contingent on the patient initially checking in with the “First Nurse,” who conducts an abbreviated evaluation based on acuity or seriousness of the problem. The First Nurse then refers the patient to either the “First Team” of physician, nurse and tech available in the triage area, or for more serious cases to the Main ED. A rapid registration process occurs simultaneously helping to trim more time off the wait.
The No-Wait program led to even further reductions in patient wait times, improved clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. With this system, all conditions—from minor to urgent--can be treated almost immediately, with acutely ill patients being rapidly sent to the Main ED.
The transformed ED has demonstrated truly astounding results. In addition to the dramatic drop in the door to doctor time, the “overall quality of care” survey ranking by patients rose from 16% to 76%. The percentage of patients seen within 60 minutes increased from 31% to 85%, and the “Left Without Being Seen” percentage fell from 5.6% to 0.9%.