Natividad Medical Center Emergency Department ‘Fast Track’ System Reducing Overcrowding
A new "fast-track" system at Natividad Medical Center's emergency department is reducing overcrowding and offering faster service to ED patients with minor illnesses and injuries, the Monterey County Herald reports. Under the fast-track system, patients now wait an average of 21 minutes for treatment, according to Natividad spokesperson Cherie Stock. Previously, ED patients at the hospital waited as long as three hours, the Herald reports. Stock added that the system also has opened more inpatient beds at the Salinas facility and reduced overcrowding in the ED, which sees about 180 patients daily. The hospital had to restructure its staff and hire some additional triage nurses to manage patients to implement the system, Stock said.
Dr. John Elliott, director of medical services at the hospital, said, "Our goal is to treat most urgent care patients within 30 minutes or less." Elliott added that the hospital also hopes to "ensure that patients with minor ailments won't tire of a long wait and leave the [ED], only to return with major problems because they waited too long to be seen by a physician." Stock said Natividad is looking to further streamline administrative procedures with a new computer system that could improve billing, registration and the retrieval of medical records (Livernois, Monterey County Herald, 7/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.