Renovating to get patients to providers sooner

December 13, 2017

Triage bed at MultiCare Auburn Medical CenterIn a busy emergency department, it’s not uncommon to expect a wait to see a doctor. However, with some changes to the department space and some process improvements, the patient experience can be greatly improved.

This is what MultiCare Auburn Medical Center found from a recent 18-month renovation to its emergency department. Using adjacent shell space, the medical center was able to expand the department from 23 to 27 beds and the number of triage beds from one to three. Likewise, they increased the size of their “fast track” area — which serves as somewhat of an in-house urgent care for less acute patients — to better serve patients.

With these changes and over-arching process improvements, the medical center has been able to shave an average of 20 minutes off the time spent waiting for a doctor and shave 25 minutes off the average length of stay in the department, helping patients get on their way quicker.

Aubrun fast track areaThe increase in size of the fast-track area has been particularly helpful. While there had previously been three fast track rooms, they have now expanded to six, also bringing in eight recliners for patients to use while waiting for tests or providers. In all, the ED can now serve 14 fast track patients at once, freeing up other beds for patients with more acute needs.

The renovation was completed in September, and the medical center is already enjoying the positive benefits of its changes. (Tim Pfarr)



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