LIJ Reinvents Emergency Department for a New Age

NEW HYDE PARK, NY -- The speed and quality today’s consumers demand from their high tech devices and every other aspect of modern life has inspired health care providers at LIJ Medical Center to design a new emergency room experience – one that emphasizes decreased wait times and improved efficiency without sacrificing expert care.

“Health care is always innovating,” said Chantal Weinhold, executive director of LIJ Medical Center. “The Emergency Room is the front door of the hospital, much in the way a lobby is for a hotel.  For many of our patients, this is the time when they get their first impression of our hospital.”

Just like certain information is communicated to visitors when they step into a hotel lobby for the first time, the same is true of the Emergency Room -- only it’s much more critical.  “These are people’s lives,” Ms. Weinhold said. “We want patients to know they’re placing themselves in compassionate, qualified hands. You only get one chance to make that first impression that conveys the commitment to excellence that can make or break the patient experience.”

As part of a new process established at LIJ’s Emergency Department (ED), that first impression begins with a registered nurse (RN) greeter, who not only welcomes the patient but also provides quick registration and generates a chart.  A ‘Quick Look’ RN assesses the patient and assigns an acuity level to triage patients based on the severity of their illness or injuries. 

After this process is complete, the patient is brought to an intake area where a health care provider performs a physical exam. There, the patient is presented with an ED Care Card, so that both the patient and the medical team can track the time spent in the ED and any tests that are ordered, pending or completed.

Once the patient consents to recommended treatment and tests, the health care provider routes the patient to the tests before escorting them to an area where they receive their test results. The health care provider then reviews the test results and plan of care with the patient and/or family member.

“The ED care card helps track the entire process,” said Helena Willis RN ED Director of Patient Care Services “The patient and the health care team have the same information.  They know how long the patient has been with us, the medical team members in charge of the patient’s care, the tests that have been ordered and completed, and what the overall plan of care is.”  In addition, each member of the patient’s care team has a specific uniform color and other identifiers to help for easier identification for patients, who may have questions regarding the different aspects of their care.

“Our goal is to simplify the ED process, and by doing so, enhance the patient experience, said Dr. Salvatore Pardo MD, ED Vice Chairperson. “We want patients to enter the Emergency Department and be in a room inside of 15 minutes and to see a Provider within 30 minutes.” Dr. Pardo said improved communication and efficiency are keys to reducing door-to-provider times and delivering the high-quality care patients deserve and expect.  “We think we’ve developed a process that will work not only here at LIJ but can also be a model for other hospitals.”

The results have been encouraging. The hospital has reduced its door-to-room time by 50 percent to 24 minutes and its door- to-provider time by 28 percent at 52 minutes. “We’re encouraged by our progress to date,” said Ms. Weinhold. “We know that as we move forward in this process our patients will continue to experience the difference.”

LIJ’s Emergency Department treated over 80,000 adult patients in 2013 – one of the busiest emergency rooms in the City of New York and Long Island. Thanks to the support of benefactors William and Phyllis Mack, the ED doubled in size in 2007 to 36,000 square feet. The facility has 56 private exam rooms, including designated rooms for acute-care patients, intake rooms for patients with injuries and illnesses that are less severe and adult psychiatric patient rooms.

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