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Local News

January 24, 2014

Norwich hospital aims to ease wait times

The emergency room at UHS Chenango Memorial Hospital in Norwich is less of a “waiting room” than ever before, thanks to a new system implemented in January.

Since then, the emergency room has been seeing 73 percent of its patients within 30 minutes, according to a recent press release from the hospital.

Improved workflow, a more comprehensive staffing schedule and expanded treatment areas are hallmarks of the new patient experience, according to the release.

“To ensure that our patients are seen as quickly and efficiently as possible, we have re-engineered our processes within the department,” said Peter Gordon, the hospital’s emergency services medical director.

Gordon said the hospital’s emergency services department set a goal in 2013 for 55 percent of the hospital’s patients to be seen by a provider within 30 minutes. With the help of the new system and hard work, Gordon said, that goal was reached and surpassed this year. This month, Gordon said, the average time it took for patients to be seen was 22 minutes.

Gordon said the new system has “been going great.” He said the volume of people seen in the emergency room has increased by 15 percent, with an overall decrease in length of patient stay.

“Throughout the year our staff has worked hard to hit the mark,” Gordon said, “eliminating bottlenecks and improving performance, processes, staffing and physical space to better serve our patients.”

Donna Faber, nurse manager of the emergency department, said the hospital has hired several new nurses and practitioners to speed up the process and shorten the length of patient stay. She said there are now three rooms that patients are rotated through to evaluate their problems and determine where in the hospital the patient could best be taken care of.

According to Gordon, the emergency room is now separated into, what the staff calls “ER South” and “ER North.” Gordon said patients with more pressing issues, such as bad chest pains, are sent to ER North, and patients with less-pressing issues are sent to ER South.

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