Frisco-Knowing that every emergency, no matter how minor or severe, needs to be appropriately treated like an emergency, Centennial Medical Center has made it a priority to ensure that all patients who come through their doors receive quality care, as quickly as possible.
Patients admitted to Centennial Medical Center’s Emergency Department are on the average seen by a physician in 25 minutes or less. The average time that hospital emergency rooms patients wait to see a doctor has grown from about 38 minutes to almost an hour over the past decade, according to new federal statistics released by the CDC in August.
"We're less than half of that," said Dr. David Arai, Medical Director of Centennial’s Emergency Department. “And we are always looking for new ways to improve this time.”
Dr. Arai says numerous factors at the hospital contribute to the shorter wait time, including: near immediate triage of patients, all board-certified emergency physicians, high percentage of nurse to patient ratio, all private patient treatment rooms, a layout that enables more efficient treatment of patients and electronic tracking of patient status, location and tests using MEDHOST Emergency Department System (EDMS), a suite of software solutions that use touch-screen and wireless technologies to offer comprehensive management of the emergency department.
In the past, Emergency Department systems tended to introduce more work into health care professionals’ already overburdened workday. “The productivity results and operational efficiencies we have achieved with EDMS have been amazing,” said Dr. Arai. “We save so much time because you can see what is going on from anywhere in the ER. It really allows all of us—including the physicians—to spend more quality time to spend with our patients.” Centennial is the only hospital in the area utilizing this life-saving technology.
The hospital staff at Centennial sees about 26,000 patients per year in the emergency room. Overall, about 119 million visits were made to U.S. emergency rooms in 2006, up from 90 million in 1996, a 32 percent increase.
Patients who come into the emergency room with minor emergencies such as cuts, coughs, or complaints that might require sutures, splints, or lab work may be treated in Centennial’s Fast Track Area. This enables the staff to treat minor injuries or illnesses more quickly, while providing vital care to emergency patients.
Dr. Arai says that the goal is not only to shorten the time it takes to first see a patient but also to significantly reduce the time between when a patient checks in to the ED and the time he or she is either discharged or admitted.
"We make an immediate assessment of their status and then get them treated so they can go home,” said Dr. Arai.