The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 19, 2011

Don’t want to keep them waiting

St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center’s new ER designed to improve efficiency, speed of care

By Kasey Fowler, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID — St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center spent two years and $2.5 million to update its emergency room and registration area.

The emergency room expanded from nine beds to 17 and was given a more home-like feel.

“We have designated rooms for trauma and cardiac. The more severe are closer to the nursing station,”  said Troy Schultz, emergency room director. “We added televisions to the rooms. We will be adding computers to each room, about half already have computers, so we can do registering in the room. Our radiology films are on a system so we can bring them up on the computer and show the patient bedside.”

Registering patients in rooms protects the privacy.

“Your registration is part of your emergency room process, instead of 20 minutes tacked on. It is also more private,” said Nicholas Craft, Chief Operations Officer for the hospital.

Besides adding more beds, the ER received a facelift. Wood floors and a larger waiting room, with a more open floor plan, were added.

“We want it to feel more like registering at a hotel,” Crafts said.

The waiting room now centers around a large aquarium.

“I like that we don’t have magazines or TVs in the waiting room because there isn’t enough time for people to read anything or watch a program. The aquarium calms people down,” said Steven Moore, financial liaison.

Although the waiting room has been made to feel more like waiting at home, St. Mary’s staff does not want patients to wait for long.

“When you see patients in our waiting room it is because we are full, not because we are parking patients out there,” Crafts said.

The admissions area was a remodel of the physical space but also a revamp of processes. The admissions area increased from three offices to six bays.

Waiting times for registering at St. Mary’s have decreased to less than five minutes, averaging three minutes and 36 seconds.

“The wait time was 16 minutes to be registered, then it was cut down to 10 minutes. If the wait time goes over the average time, the receptionist finds out why ...” Moore said. “They don’t come here to be registered. They come here to have their blood drawn or whatever. We need to make registration as quick and friendly as possible.”

To help toward that end, St. Mary’s soon will open a lab drawing station next to registration.

“Instead of sending them up the elevator to second floor and to wherever, out-patients will likely stay on the first floor now,” Moore said.

A new central heat and air unit, a tube system from the emergency room to the lab and a self-contained decontamination room with showers were added to the emergency room, as well.

“We added a tube system to the lab because seconds do matter in a critical patient,” Crafts said.

With increased size of the ER came an increase in staff, both of which have sped up processes and made things flow better.

“It is great area,” Schultz said. “It is working great for us.”