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Emergency department improvements mean less wait time for patients

Emergency department improvements mean less wait time for patients

Campbell County Memorial Hospital Emergency Department (ED) Director Marie Edwards had known for a while that there must be a way to improve throughput—the time it takes patients to receive treatment in the ED. The ED wasn’t meeting the national averages for “door to discharge” time, resulting in unhappy patients and inefficient ways of doing things. It took a team of employees about six months to collect data and implement changes.

The most visible change is to the triage room, where the nurse assesses the patient to determine the severity of their illness or injury. Now the door to the triage room is across from the ED entrance and clearly visible to anyone coming in the door. Patients can see exactly where to go.

After the triage nurse completes her assessment and gathers some initial information, the patient goes straight back to a treatment room if one is available. Additional information is taken at the bedside by a registration specialist so care isn’t delayed. There are times when the patient must wait in the waiting room, but that is now the exception.

“It’s all about getting the patient the care they need as quickly as we can”, says Marie. “Feedback from patients tells us they like the new process.”

The proof is in the numbers: A year ago the average door to discharge time for the CCMH Emergency Department patients was 157 minutes, compared to the national average of 138 minutes. In September 2018 CCH’s average time dropped to 126 minutes, below the national average of 138 minutes.

Hear what our patients are saying

  • “I was taken back to a room immediately, which was nice to not have to sit in the waiting area.”
  • “Having the reception person come into the room rather than doing it at the front desk is a great improvement.”