Berlin, Md. – Atlantic General Hospital’s Emergency Department has far fewer patients leave the hospital before treatment is complete than the national average, according to the Quality Indicator Project, a benchmarking entity of the Maryland Hospital Association.
Nationwide, an average of three percent of patients entering the emergency department leave before treatment is complete. At Atlantic General Hospital that figure is less than one percent.
This information is an indication of patient satisfaction at Atlantic General Hospital as well as the length of time a patient spends in their emergency department.
According to the same study, less than two percent of the patients who enter the Emergency Department at Atlantic General Hospital have a treatment time greater than six hours. Treatment time is measured from the moment a patient enters the emergency department to the time they are either treated and released or admitted to the hospital.
This is important because a longer emergency department wait in some cases can have a negative effect on the outcome of a patient’s illness or injury. A patient could grow sicker while waiting. Or, he or she may leave early out of frustration when treatment is really needed.
“People may not realize the seriousness of their illness,” said Emergency Department Director Andi West-McCabe. “When facing an hours-long wait, they will leave because they are more comfortable at home.”
Atlantic General Hospital has taken steps to reduce treatment times and maintain a high level of care, therefore decreasing the number of patients who leave prematurely.
Among them is a pneumatic tube system, such as the one used in bank drive-thrus, to deliver specimens quickly to the laboratory for analysis. The results from those samples are then available in the department’s computer system and automatically faxed to the doctor’s station.
A digitized radiology system allows the emergency staff to see images on the computer as soon as the x-rays are taken. There is no wait for film to be developed and delivered before a patient can be diagnosed.
The department has also implemented a separate fast track for those patients with minor injuries or illnesses who can be treated more quickly. From the time of arrival to discharge, fast track patients spend an average of one hour and fourteen minutes in the department.
“People choose this emergency department because they know they receive quality care, and wait times are shorter here,” said West-McCabe.
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