Jason Schlautman, MD, ER medical director, examines an ER patient.
Established daily morning briefings with all hospital units to assess patient activity
Expanded non-invasive cardiology testing hours and expanded cardiovascular services in a new Heart and Vascular Institute
Created a “Surge Protocol” to mobilize hospital-wide resources when ER activity rises
Implemented faster coordination of patient discharge and housekeeping to clear rooms for incoming ER patients
Opened a fourth Urgent Care Center
Expanded network of primary care physicians
Emergency room changes
Added more board-certified ER physicians
Created a new area to fast-track incoming ER patients
Opened a separate 16-room Cardinal Glennon Pediatric Emergency Department to complement the 37-room adult ER
Donated lifesaving EKG telemonitors and defibrillators to local EMS crews to enhance rapid response and treatment prior to hospital arrival
Special Report: Improved Emergency Care
Emergency Department – shorter waits, better care
Sweeping, hospital-wide changes at St. Anthony’s Medical Center have dramatically dropped ER wait times. Patients now undergo comprehensive evaluations and see an ER physician in less than an hour on most days.
“The biggest impact on community perception of the hospital is in ER wait times,” says Rita Srum, RN, BSN, nursing director for St. Anthony’s Adult and Pediatric Emergency Departments. “We have a high volume of patients who come to St. Anthony’s, and we must take care of the most critical patients first. Patients who walk in will be greeted by medical staff and triaged according to the Emergency Severity Index. Our staff has training to make rapid decisions for best patient care practices.”
During the past three years, St. Anthony’s has focused intently on reducing the time it takes for patients to see an ER physician, improving both services and overall patient flow. It has been a hospital-wide effort.
“It’s a chain of improvements, beginning in the ER and extending to every medical and surgical floor. This includes transportation, housekeeping, nursing, laboratories, diagnostic services and discharge planning,” says board-certified internist Sam Hawatmeh, MD, a member of Quality Management Consultants, a team of primary care physicians that helps St. Anthony’s. “From having case managers in the ER to holding daily briefings to evaluate patient progress, we've made sure that communication and collaboration among physicians, nurses and staff smoothly moves patients from the ER to a hospital floor, and eventually to discharge.”
Since 2008, changes at St. Anthony’s have resulted in:
“This last achievement is particularly profound because when a hospital goes on diversion, it asks EMS crews to go elsewhere whenever emergency patient flow is overwhelming,” says Rob Thames, St. Anthony’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “To drop to zero percent for more than a year is a testament to the hospital-wide commitment to improve emergency care for the entire community.”
Because of all the positive changes, St. Anthony’s earned Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s 2009 Hospital Quality Program Award.
“It’s a nice result of our ability to evaluate what needed to be done and to commit to widespread changes to improve patient care,” says Jason Schlautman, MD, medical director of the emergency room. “We still have days when ER patient volume is incredible, but we adjusted physician staffing to match the times when we typically see more patients. We’re all dedicated to treating patients as quickly as we can.”
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
At St. Anthony's, our vision is to be the area's premier health care organization
— and your first choice for health care services.