Atlantic General Hospital Celebrates One Year of 30 Minute ER Promise
Atlantic General Hospital celebrated the one year anniversary of its 30
Minute ER Promise, a commitment to the community to place ER visitors
in a treatment bed or initiate their care within 30 minutes of arrival,
in grand style this March. In recognition of the occasion and the tremendous
success of the program, hospital administration treated all associates
and medical staff to a four course gourmet meal to thank them for their support.
“Fantastic teamwork is what made the 30 Minute ER Promise a success,”
said Andi-West McCabe, director of emergency services at Atlantic General.
“It took a hospital-wide effort to make this happen, and it’s
truly wonderful considering the hours-long waits that are the norm in
ERs across the country.”
When planning for this initiative in 2006, the ER Promise steering committee
set a goal to meet the 30-minute-or-less commitment at least 90 percent
of the time. They set this goal with consideration for the especially
high peak flow times during the busy summer months when the population
of Worcester County, which includes nearby Ocean City, increases from
just under 50,000 to nearly 300,000. Gift cards for local businesses were
purchased to provide to those patients with longer waits to thank them
for their patience and understanding.
As it turned out, the emergency department was able to meet that goal
more than 94 percent of the time during the first year, from February
2007 through January 2008 – a major accomplishment considering that
Atlantic General Hospital’s emergency department saw a greater than
14 percent increase in its ER usage during that same period, the highest
growth grate of any hospital in the state of Maryland. The state average
was 2 to 3 percent.
“We are proud that we can offer this level of service to the community,”
said Michael Franklin, president and CEO of Atlantic General Hospital.
“I think the program demonstrates to our area residents and visitors
that we are committed to their health and to offering the best medical
A combination of physical and technological improvements, as well as changes
in procedure in several hospital departments within the last few years,
allowed the steering committee to put their theory for a time promise
into action, beginning with the 2003 hospital expansion that grew the
emergency department to nineteen beds and provided a separate fast track
area. New technology in patient registration and medication dispensing
and the transport of lab samples through a pneumatic tube system helped
to streamline care.
In the 12 months leading up to the launch of the 30 Minute ER Promise
in February 2007, each department took a hard look at the way they do
things to see if they could make any improvements that would further speed
the delivery of emergency care.
“House-wide, we looked at a number of processes to see if we could
eliminate any unnecessary steps or improve procedure,” said Belle
Goslee, RN, clinical leader in the emergency department. “We identified
any inefficiencies and corrected them, which, in the end, also improved
the quality of care we can offer our patients in the emergency department.”
The 30 Minute ER Promise will continue; hospital officials feel this is
a standard that must be maintained to ensure the delivery of quality medical
care to the community.