Our NEW South County Emergency and Trauma Department
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When were the South County Emergency Department renovations completed?
Architects from the Lawrence Group have designed an optimized work environment that opened Jan. 1, 2014 and include six flexible triage rooms and an EMS and Patient Flow Communications Center.
Why did St. Anthony’s make the renovations?
The Emergency Department’s previous design included a constricted triage area that created a bottleneck to patient flow. The new area will assist ED staff and doctors in assessing quickly our patients’ needs, providing immediate medical treatment and discharging or moving patients to appropriate care areas.
One of the complaints we hear most often from patients is the length of their wait time.
How will the changes in the ED affect wait times?
Already, we’ve seen a dramatic decrease in the time it takes for a patient to see a doctor. In November 2013, we averaged 24 minutes. Industry best practice is 30 minutes. One year ago, we were at 120 minutes.
We’ve accomplished this through a variety of initiatives, including Fast Track, which is a physically unique space where emergency physicians and nurses use their skills and resources to help patients get quality care more quickly. In the past, if a patient came to the Emergency Department with, for example, ankle pain, treatment might be delayed if another patient suffering a heart attack or a car accident victim arrived at the same time. Now, when patients come with non-life threatening conditions, they are moved to a four-room suite in the Emergency Department where they are seen by nurses and a physician assistant dedicated solely to Fast Track.
We’ve also implemented “Pull-‘Til-Full”. The idea behind it is to bring (Pull) back patients to an ED bed as soon as they arrive to the ED until all the beds are full (‘Til Full).
In addition, we’ve established required qualifications for triage RNs and developed a Quick Triage process to improve patient flow.
A sub team is focusing on patient flow for admitted ED patient, with a goal of never having an empty bed while patients are waiting.
What about staffing? Will that change?
We have hired additional nurses, physician assistants, and other employees to help improve the process, increase the quality of care, and allow doctors to spend more time with patients.
We have also hired specially trained scribes who are shadowing physicians as the physicians provide care in the ED. The scribes enable the doctors to spend more quality time with the patients and their families at the bedside.
How will these changes affect the patient’s immediate care in the ED?
We’ve upgraded our use of technology to help us better communicate in several ways:
- We are giving read-only access to eClinical Works for the emergency physicians. eClinical Works is the EMR used by the St. Anthony’s Physician Organization.
- Display screens will give a status list of all beds and available rooms, and will give a view of department flow.
- The use of QlikView, a software tool for data analysis, will improve metrics and decrease unneeded waits.
How are you improving communication with patients and their physicians?
We are using technology to improve communications between the Emergency Department and the patient’s primary care physician. An E-Fax Patient Care Summary will inform attending physicians that their patient received care at St. Anthony’s Emergency Department.
We are also working to communicate better with patients and their families by implementing ED Patient Liaisons, so everyone is aware of the kind of care being given, and what needs to be done to continue that care once the patient leaves.
Is our ED able to handle critical injuries and illnesses?
Yes! St. Anthony’s Medical Center is the only Level II Trauma Center in South St. Louis County and Jefferson County. This means we have the resources available to manage the care of critically injured patients at all times.
St. Anthony’s is also one of only a few hospitals in the St. Louis metro area accredited by The Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center, and we have earned the highest level of accreditation available as a Chest Pain Center from the Society of Chest Pain Centers.
How busy is St. Anthony’s Emergency Department?
In FY 2013, St. Anthony’s Emergency Department (adult and pediatric) had 69,947 visits. Our ED serves 26 EMS districts, of which 9 are under St. Anthony’s Medical Control. In FY 2013, we were the fourth busiest Emergency Department in the St. Louis region and the sixth busiest in the state of Missouri.
For information, please call our Health Access Line at 314-ANTHONY (268-4669) or 800-554-9550 or visit find a physician online.
Working as trusted partners, the physicians and employees of St. Anthony's Health System will deliver care distinguished by its demonstrated quality and personalized service. We will be visibly engaged in improving the health and well being of the communities we serve in South County and beyond. We will stand together, proud to set the standard for independent community health systems.