May 20, 2024

Emergency Rooms in Critical Condition

English: Entrance to the Emergency Room at Na ...
English: Entrance to the Emergency Room at Na Wa Public Hospital, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No one that has been to a hospital emergency room recently would argue that there is a lot of room for improvement in the care we receive there. My family has had the distinct privilege of being there three time in the past few months, each with different results, but we saw gaping holes.

For one thing, we entered one hospital with a child with blood seeping from his lower eyelid and we were told to have a seat in the waiting room. When more than 15 minutes passed, we left for another ER that took him right in.

The next time we were at the ER, we came in by ambulance. The place was packed, but because of the circumstances (pain in a pregnant woman’s abdomen) some nurses took pity on us and got her assistance. (It also helped that we were in the middle of the hallway where nurses had to walk by me to get where they were going!)

This last time, Virtuous Blonde went to Labor and Delivery to get a pain checked out before going on our mini-vacation and they sent her to the ER because she was under a certain number of weeks. She went down there but realized that she’d never get in because she was not in critical condition.

Cal ThomasWhat is happening in these places? Waste. Cal Thomas writes about this, talking about the solution to the problem. The problem is that people do not seem themselves as part of a solution to a problem. They do not optimize their tasks or realize the impact that things have on their patients. They may be saving lives, but they are not leaving good impressions.

For instance, in the time where we were in the hallway getting care because we came in on an ambulance, there was a man that was also in the hallway who had been there for over twelve hours. They had not moved him to a room. He was not even in a comfortable bed. I understand that there were more pressing needs at the time, but that man will never have a good opinion of that hospital, and the next time he might just stay home.

In my profession, we’re constantly working on processes and continuous improvement. We’ve learned that constant firefighting without metrics and understanding the customer just leads to discontent within the ranks and poor service.

Hospitals need to evaluate rolls, come up with some tangible performance metrics, and even think outside the box. Thomas mentions that one hospital employs a a client manager that keeps patients up to date about where they were in the queue, what the status of tests were, etc. This in and of itself would be a tremendous aid, because if you can’t see them working, you tend to think that they don’t care or aren’t doing anything about your situation.

Emergency Rooms have to do something and throwing money, government involvement or more staff isn’t the solution. They need some good procedures and to have a customer focus.

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2 thoughts on “Emergency Rooms in Critical Condition

  1. I SO identify with this post…in fact, we were so fed up with our last hospital experiences that we decided to avoid doctors all together and had our last baby at a birth center with a wonderfully capable midwife. I wish we’d not been so afraid of the natural route with our first two children.
    My dh’s job keeps landing him in the ER, and without fail he’s had to wait hours…we’re talking a SMALL TOWN ER here. His shoulder has a tendency to dislocate, and though he’s usually able to force it back in, sometimes he can’t and his co-workers don’t have it in them to do it for him (;O) this frustrates my tough guy, he hates going to the dr!). Usually the joint is so swollen by the time the ER doc arrives that it’s excruciating to relocate it. In fact, the dr always wants to sedate dh, but dh won’t let him.
    We hate paying through the nose for shoddy response times.
    There is one dr (we LOVE him) who must respond instantly to any calls when on call. He’s great! But the nurses won’t tell you who’s on call! Luck of the draw unless we have the “time” to go further away to a bigger hospital…

  2. And then the hospitals start consolidating and making it further to find care. And they overwork the doctors and nurses, and overschedule them. And I’m sure I could talk forever about the malpractice insurance they have to pay. The whole system needs to cut the fat and waste and get back to doing a good job.

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