Decreasing ER Wait Time

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Lois Cutler is at Ingham Regional Medical Center's Emergency Department waiting to get X-rays of her neck. It's been more than an hour, and she says it'd be nice if she didn't have to wait so long.

"I've got a lot of things to do and you sit around here doing nothing, and you don't get anything done."

"The patient mainly cares about getting in, getting seen, and making sure the diagnosis is correct and getting home, " says IRMC Registered Nurse Kris Allen.

That's why the steps involved in the ER process will soon be decreased by what's called "LEAN." It's method that's been used by auto manufacturers to increase productivity.

"The Emergency Department typically sees anywhere from 100-200 patients a day. And it's very uneven. We don't schedule things like a physician's office. So when there are times we call surge, a rapid influx of critically ill patients, we need to be able to respond promptly to that" says IRMC's Dr. Earl Reisdorff.

For those patients that end up being admitted to the hospital after an ER visit, the national average wait time can be up to six hours. There are currently about 70 steps in the E-R process.

Allen says the hospital is hoping to cut that down by taking a look at, "The time to wait for a lab, the time the patients are waiting in the waiting room and why they are waiting."

"Anytime we can decrease the waiting of that experience, they get more precise care, more efficient care, and less of their life is disrupted," says Dr. Reisdorff.

And it's all expected to start in two weeks.


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  • by Anonymous on Jun 20, 2007 at 03:10 PM
    As an ER Physician this story shows the unrealistic expections people have when they come to the ED for non life threatening injuries or illnesses.I wait over an hour at my private MDs office with an appointment! Now we are expected to all comers in less than an hour! Americans have the best heath care in the world, and now it must be in less than an hour! Dr N
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