Saturday, 26 November 2022

Redbud Community Hospital cuts ER wait times

CLEARLAKE – New equipment and streamlined procedures have cut the waiting time at Redbud Community Hospital’s emergency department by 22 percent, an analysis of some 5,000 patient charts shows.

From the time you enter the emergency department until the nurse has completed the initial screening, you’ll wait an average of 18 minutes, according to John Severs, RN, BSN, director of the emergency department. Severs says the average time spent in emergency from door-to-discharge is three hours, which is equal to the national average.

“Our goal is to get people in, treated and out of the emergency department within two hours,” says Severs. “We’ll keep working on it until we get there.”

One major advance is new equipment in the emergency department that tests the blood for heart attack markers – and gives positive results within 15 minutes and completely rules out a heart attack in two hours. It used to take eight hours.

Elevated blood levels of cardiac troponin 1 are highly indicative of a heart attack. If the initial test shows normal (negative), the test is run twice more within two hours. If all tests come back normal, it’s nearly 100 percent certain there’s no heart attack, Sever explains.

“Before, we couldn’t take the chance. So we would fly patients with cardiac symptoms to St. Helena Hospital for emergency cardiac evaluation,” he said. “Now, we know quickly when tests are negative, allowing us to safely keep patients here for observation and referral to the cardiologist.”

Not only is that less expensive, Sever notes, but it is easier on the patient and the family.

Severs’ team continuously audits patient records to find out how the process screening and treatment process needs improvement.


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