Twin Cities Hospital looks at ER wait times


TEMPLETON Twin Cites Community Hospital has launched a new process in its Emergency Department to help patients get in and out of the hospital more quickly and more efficiently.

“Since we are the busiest Emergency Department in San Luis Obispo County, we wanted to dig deep into our process and develop a new rapid triage program that essentially cuts down on wait times for all patients who enter our doors, and provide a fast track to see a physician,” said Dr. Cinnamon Redd, who specializes in emergency medicine at Twin Cities Community Hospital. “We see more patients than any other Emergency Department in the county, so having this in place is crucial.”

Patients will see a physician faster, start tests sooner, receive real-time updates about their care and get home quicker.

Here is how the program works:

Patients are immediately registered and triaged by a nurse when they arrive in the Emergency Department

Patients are taken directly into the rapid triage waiting room

Physicians immediately evaluate each patient to determine whether additional tests are needed and whether they need to be admitted to the hospital

This new process is geared toward low-acuity patients — for example, those with minor injuries or minor illnesses who need to get in and out of the hospital quickly. The hospital has physicians, nurses and technicians who are dedicated to this program. Patients with severe injuries or illnesses will continue to be taken into the Emergency Department immediately.

“We want to make sure we educate the community that this is something new and different for Twin Cities Community Hospital,” Dr. Redd said. “Those who enter our Emergency Department will notice an immediate difference in how they are seen and how quickly they are evaluated by a physician.”

The Emergency Department is utilizing technology such as headsets to keep all staff connected and each patient is assigned a physician upon arrival.

Since launching this initiative, the average discharge time has dropped by 27 minutes. Overall, patients are being seen quicker by a physician and in turn, being discharged quicker.

For low-acuity patients who enter the Emergency Department during normal business hours of 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, their average wait time is now under ten minutes with this new process in place.


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