Faster service at Memorial Hospital

Employees at Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs are excited to try a different approach to emergency care.

“In triage in the old way you came in and saw a nurse, and the nurse then took your vitals and gave you a category of treatment,” said Director of Emergency Services, Laura Rogers. “And that treatment then put you in a cue to be seen. But some of the less critical things were also in that same cue. So everybody was waiting in line.”

It was almost too much to bear for some patients at Colorado’s busiest emergency department.

“In the past we had patients that were bogged down by too many different steps to actually see the physician,” said Dr. George Hartner.

So the hospital employees gathered to think about how they would want to be treated.

“Everybody had an equal voice, which is what we really embraced,” said Hartner. “Everybody there from the highest level administrator who would come to the room to brand new employees that volunteered to help out with the process…had an equal say to what they thought the patient experience should be.”

They developed a leaner, more stream-lined process to be seen by doctors.

“We’ve taken away triage,” said Rogers.

“I think that you’re going to see that your care comes faster, that you’re going to see a provider faster, and the right actions are going to be taken sooner,” said Hartner.

The numbers would already suggest it. Since Feb. 28, 2013, double the amount of patients are seen in just a two hour period.

“Prior to us starting, 18 percent of the patients were seen, treated and released in two hours,” said Rogers. “We’ve increased that to 36 percent of the patients now.”

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