Saint Joseph Health System Introduces No Wait Emergency Rooms
Long waits are often synonymous with emergency room visits, creating anxiety and frustration for patients and their loved ones. That’s why Saint Joseph Health System has introduced groundbreaking No Wait ERs, now at Saint Joseph - London. All seven hospitals in the Saint Joseph Health System have implemented the new program – the first of its kind in Kentucky.
With the new process, emergency care begins within five minutes of a patient’s arrival time. A doctor examines the patient within 30 minutes. This time frame will allow the hospitals to provide a better experience for patients, while continuing to deliver the same high-quality care that patients expect from Saint Joseph Health System.
“Traditionally, once you entered an Emergency Department, you were met by a receptionist who began the registration process,” said Virginia Dempsey, President of Saint Joseph - London. “Then you were seen by a nurse who assessed the severity of your condition. If your illness or injury was not serious, you were sent back to the lobby to wait for a room assignment. At Saint Joseph - London’s No Wait ER, a patient is seen by a nurse within five minutes of arrival.”
“You are quickly seen by a Trained Emergency Care Provider who will begin the treatment you need,” said Mary Lou Young, RN, Director of Saint Joseph - London’s Emergency Department. “For example, if you bring in a child with an injured arm, the nurse can order x-rays. If you have certain symptoms of a particular illness, the nurse can order lab tests. All of this happens even before the doctor sees you within 30 minutes.”
“Patients who come to an Emergency Room are sicker than before; many patients do not have access to primary care, and ER’s across the nation are overcrowded with primary care patients,” said Young. “With No Wait ERs, we want to serve all of our patients more efficiently. If for some reason we are not able to meet the five and 30 minute goals, we will explain the situation to the patient so that they understand the details and progress of their care – keeping them informed along the way.”
“This process began around the patient’s experience,” Dempsey said. “We asked ourselves, ‘What is the right thing to do for our patients?’ The answer for our patients was quite simple. Getting into the care system – instead of sitting in a waiting room, allows care providers to begin fast and effective diagnosis and treatment. With our mission as our example, we want to treat each patient as we would our own family member.”