Patient satisfaction with the quality of care received at the General campus Emergency Department went up an impressive nine points since April 2011, due in large part to a campaign instituted early last year to improve the ED patient experience.
In January of 2011, the hospital set up a committee made up of ED staff who examined “how the patient journey could be improved from the time people walk into triage to the time they are seen by a doctor,” explains Denise Edman, Patient Care Manager of the General Campus ED.
Some of the changes that have been instituted since 2011 include more clearly defining the areas for patient assessment, registration and waiting in the triage area. Improved signage and dedicated red chairs help to guide patients through the triage process. Additionally, volunteers are present in the main waiting room to greet incoming patients.
A Rapid Assessment Zone (RAZ), implemented at both the General and Birchmount campuses, has helped reduce the wait time for patients who do not require a stretcher and can sit up in a chair or wheelchair. When patients move into the RAZ, they are given a number and can see on an LED screen where they are in the queue. In addition, signage has been installed in the triage area with the estimated waiting times for non-life threatening illnesses.
In recent months, TSH has seen its patient satisfaction scores in the ED rise, according to NRC Picker, the organization that administers TSH patient and employee surveys. This is in addition to outstanding overall Employee and Physician survey results, with employee engagement going up nearly nine points since 2010 and physician engagement going up nearly eight points in the same time period.
“We’re working on a number of other initiatives that will help improve ED wait times and ultimately improve patient satisfaction,” adds Edman. “These include strategies to further improve inpatient capacity, as well as to expedite diagnostic testing for ED patients.”