There are certain expectations a person has when they come to a hospital. They like to know that they will be cared for in a clean environment, and that the staff is knowledgeable and attentive to their needs. Are the staff warm and friendly? How's the food?
But in an emergency situation, while all of these things are still important, they often take a backseat to a single question. Will I receive the care I need as quickly as possible?
"There is a direct link between the patient's satisfaction after a visit and the time they had to wait to be seen, and we understand that," said Kimothy Jordan, Memorial Satilla Health Emergency Services manager. "Over the past few months, our staff has been working hard to improve our process flow to ensure that when our community comes here for treatment they receive the care and attention they deserve, as fast as we can deliver it."
Reducing emergency room wait times has been one of the key metrics the staff has worked to improve over the past months. Their work and commitment hit a new milestone Aug. 15, when for the past 90 days the ER Wait time averaged just 11 minutes. The wait time is defined as the amount of time it takes from the time a person walks through the door to the time they are seen by a physician or physician assistant.
To hold the organization to this high standard and ensure the community is confident in the hospitals commitment to care, the average ER wait time will be displayed throughout Ware and Pierce counties on billboards, on hospital signage, and at memorialsatillahealth.com. Additionally, the community can text "ER" to 23000 for the current wait time, all updated every 15 minutes.
"The quality of care is still there. It isn't that we are skipping steps or removing levels of care that our patients expect. Instead we are reorganizing how we treat our patients and reducing the time between processes so they are getting in a bed at a faster rate. It is really just that we are managing and treating more efficiently, which translates to a better experience for our patients," said Jack Loback, Director of Emergency Services.
The key changes that were implemented that most heavily impacted wait times was beginning assessments with an initial physician encounter to provide a quick, initial assessment, and completing diagnostics, like having blood drawn or x-rays performed up front, so when the provider returns to visit with the patient, the initial tests are already completed so the treatment can be finalized.
"Providing quality care in the ER is really a team effort. Improving wait times is just one more way we are able to provide a more satisfying patient experience for our community" said Loback.