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Rapid Response

Published in the Spring 2012 Issue of Join Us Magazine.

Enhancements help shorten wait times at Atrium’s Emergency Trauma Center

ETCIn addition to providing emergency services and trauma care, the Emergency Trauma Center (ETC) at Atrium Medical Center offers convenient medical attention with Select Care – specialized treatment for patients who don’t have life-threatening or other serious emergencies.

“Select Care, a 13-bed area, is for those who can be treated and released more quickly, as determined by a triage nurse,” says ETC Medical Director Ralph Talkers, MD. “Select Care helps us be more efficient. Patients are relieved when their needs are taken care of in a shorter wait time.”

And now, that already short wait time has been reduced even more.

“An in-hospital study conducted at the end of the summer in 2011 revealed that the average length of stay for our Select Care patients (from arrival to departure) was 120 minutes, notably lower than the national average for similarly-sized hospitals,” says Marquita Turner, director of Emergency & Trauma Services at Atrium Medical Center.

Making a Good Thing Better

In an ongoing effort to meet the needs of patients with minor injuries, Turner and her team wanted to make a good number even better – so they restructured the ETC. Instead of the entire ETC nursing staff treating patients in Select Care as well as in the other areas, a staff was selected exclusively for care of patients in Select Care.

By the fourth quarter, with that staffing adjustment, the average length of stay was reduced to 90 minutes, a decrease of 25 percent.

“We are proud of this improvement in reduced length of stay,” Turner comments. “But every member of the staff is dedicated to even more improvement, to find new ways to treat people with expert, quality care in the shortest possible time. We always want Atrium to be the community’s first choice for care.”  

“Volume can fluctuate, of course, but we make every effort to not only see patients soon after they arrive but also to have evaluations, tests and other diagnostic procedures done quickly,” adds Dr. Talkers. “Patients and families appreciate that."

When seconds count

Dr. Talkers
Ralph Talkers, MD, ETC Medical Director
Marquita Turner, Director of Emergency Trauma Services  
Medical Director Ralph Talkers, MD, calls the Emergency Trauma Center (ETC) at Atrium Medical Center one of the best kept secrets in southwestern Ohio.

For all types of injury and trauma, especially when seconds count, there are life-changing reasons why Atrium’s Emergency Trauma Center should be your first choice...

Level III Trauma Center

Atrium’s ETC has been verified as a Level III Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons, which means we have proven our ability to provide prompt assessment, resuscitation, stabilization and treatment of injured patients. In fact, in the last certification renewal period, our ETC was named as a “Model Trauma Program.”

90+ percent satisfaction

“We’re quite proud that in recent Total Patient Satisfaction surveys, more than 90 percent of our emergency patients surveyed report a positive experience,” says Marquita Turner, director of Emergency & Trauma Services.

EMS alerts

Because Atrium supports and works with local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) which transport patients to the ETC, the EMS personnel alert our nurses and physicians about a patient’s condition. “For instance, even while a patient is in transport, we can receive an alert if they are likely having a heart attack or stroke,” says Turner. “We then can gather the right personnel and equipment to meet the EMS vehicle.”  

Direct-to-bed protocol

The emergency waiting room at Atrium is usually empty. That’s because after a brief registration, patients are taken to a treatment room so they can rest and be seen by a doctor as quickly as possible.

Rapid door-to-doctor time

“One measure of our success is what’s called door-to-doctor time, that is, how quickly you will see a doctor after arriving,” Dr. Talkers says. “Atrium’s door-to-doctor time is on average under 30 minutes, which is outstanding compared to similar-size hospitals.”

Reduced door-to-balloon time

Seconds count, especially for a patient experiencing myocardial infarction (heart attack) and needing an angioplasty, also known as a “balloon,” to open a blocked artery and prevent further damage to the heart. “Over the last year, we have reduced our door-to-balloon time by 25 minutes,” Turner reports.

Dedicated imaging

Emergency X-rays and CT scans can be done right in the ETC. Having imaging services right in the department shortens the time spent in the ETC and reduces or eliminates any discomfort associated with prolonged transporting.

If you or a loved one experience a medical emergency, or if you’re unsure, don’t take any chances – call 911 immediately.