|San Leandro Hospital Cuts ER Wait Times in Half||| Print ||
|Thursday, 31 July 2014 15:00|
By Amy Sylvestri • San Leandro Times
Visits to the emergency room at San Leandro Hospital are quicker than ever according to hospital officials – time spent waiting in the ER has been reduced by nearly half since the first of the year.
The average wait time to be seen in the emergency room was 77 minutes at the start of the year and now it’s around 35 minutes, according to Viki Ardito, the hospital’s assistant vice president of patient care.
The shorter waits are due to a renewed focus and cutting waste. Also, doctors and nurses have their wait times recorded and compared to each other – “a little healthy competition,” says Ardito.
The average time from a patient’s arrival to the time a patient walks out the door for minor injures like cuts and bruises has gone down 32 percent over 2013, from 147 minutes to under 100 minutes, on average.
Hospital staff records the time a patient checks in, the time he or she is seen by the doctor, and the time the patient leaves the emergency room on the person’s chart.
“For patients, it’s a big difference,” said Ardito.
The decreased time doesn’t mean a compromise on care, Ardito says, it’s about being more efficient.
“Every day we look at what we can do to better the system,” said Ardito. “We are getting better by the week, tweaking things here and there.”
Ardito says that the quicker times mean more patients can be seen. Where the hospital was seeing about 78 patients per day in the emergency room last year, they are seeing around 90 per day now and think they could see up to 120 with further improvements.
The changes have come since San Leandro Hospital joined the Alameda Health System in late 2013.
For years, the fate of San Leandro Hospital was uncertain. When it was owned by Sutter Health, that company wanted to shut down emergency services and turn the hospital into a rehabilitation center.
But years of campaigning by local politicians and a huge public outcry prevented the closure and Sutter sold the hospital to the county.
“For years people thought the emergency department might close down all together, but now here we are thriving,” said Ardito.
CAPTION: San Leandro Hospital staff track the time a patient checks in, the time they see a doctor, and the time they leave.
PHOTO BY AMY SYLVESTRI