Berlin, Md. - At a time when long emergency room waits are reaching crisis levels,
Atlantic General Hospital reports shorter wait times across the board
– from the time individuals enter the emergency room to their discharge
after treatment, and every step in between.
The emergency department at AGH, which sees 27,000 patients each year,
has an average turnaround time of two hours and fourteen minutes for those
who need treatment but don’t require in-patient care. That figure
jumps a little to four hours and seven minutes for those who are admitted
to the hospital.
The national average emergency room visit, according to the most recent
study published by the National Center for Health Statistics, lasts three
hours and 12 minutes. At Atlantic General Hospital, the total average
treatment time patients have experienced in the past year is two hours
and 32 minutes.
Atlantic General Hospital’s figures were compiled from data collected
by the emergency department staff from November 1, 2004 through November
1, 2005. According to Emergency Department Director Andi West-McCabe,
these figures are the result of several factors:
The number of beds available in the department since its 2003 expansion:
The emergency department has nineteen beds available, eight of those being
cardiac beds. This means shorter waits, not only for a bed after an initial
examination by a triage nurse, but also for individuals who are waiting
for an initial exam.
Fast Tracking: The department has implemented a separate fast track for
those patients with minor injuries or illnesses that can be treated more
quickly. From the time of arrival to discharge, fast track patients spend
an average of one hour and fourteen minutes in the department.
Automated Medication Dispenser (PYXIS): This automated system keeps medication
on-hand in the emergency department based on previously reported usage.
This assists in reducing patient treatment times because the ED staff
doesn’t have to wait to receive the medication from the pharmacy.
A patient’s name is pulled up on the system along with a log of
any previously dispensed medications, a medication is selected, and it
is available immediately.
Patient Tracking System: As soon as a patient enters the emergency department,
a staff member with a handheld pocket PC is assessing that individual’s
reason for coming in. The information entered into the handheld can be
pulled up on the computers within the department, allowing the medical
staff to plan their treatments before the patient enters the room.
“In addition to the technology that has been utilized in the department,
I have a very strong, dedicated staff. They have a great deal of experience
and work wonderfully with the emergency physicians to meet our patients’
needs,” said West-McCabe.
For the more than two years since Atlantic General Hospital opened its
new emergency department, it has never had to enter into an alert status
or turn away patients meeting its criteria. For more information about
the Emergency Department at Atlantic General Hospital, please contact
Andi West-McCabe at 410-641-9664.