Adena Regional Medical Center ER Produces Shorter Wait Times, More Efficient Care

When you or a member of your family needs emergency department services, you want to be seen quickly.

Thanks to changes made since the beginning of the year at Adena Regional Medical Center (ARMC), empty chairs in the emergency department waiting room now stand as examples of how quickly patients are getting into a treatment room and being seen by a health care provider.

“We know our emergency department was not delivering what our community expects,” said Chief Clinical Officer Shaheed Koury, MD. “That message was received loud and clear.”

Dr. Koury joined Adena Health at the beginning of this year, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience working in and overseeing more than 200 emergency departments during his career. One of the primary goals in his new role involved improving the efficiency and patient experience in the ARMC emergency department.

After evaluating the situation and working with the department’s nursing and physician leadership, multiple process changes based upon industry best practices were made that have resulted in more efficient care and greater patient satisfaction.

The empty or nearly empty chairs in the waiting room exemplify one example of the change, the result of starting a workup as soon as possible on arriving patients to determine what the patient is experiencing, handle any initial lab work, provide any needed medications, and get the patient into a treatment room in preparation for meeting with a physician or advanced practice provider.

That means, on average and depending on factors such as patient volume on a particular day, a patient is now in a treatment room within five to six minutes of arrival at the emergency department. Consistently over a nearly four-month period since making the changes, patients are being seen by a physician or advanced practice provider within 12 minutes of arrival, down significantly from the 45-minute average during 2022.

Because of that, the average length of time a patient needs to remain in the emergency department has dropped by roughly 30%. The number of patients who choose to leave without being treated by a provider has dropped from between 5-6% to less than 1%. The national average is 3.5%. This improvement indicates that those who may be in dire need of services are getting essential care.

“These are patients who could possibly be having a heart attack, a stroke, a serious abdominal problem, and we don’t want those patients to leave without being diagnosed so we can initiate treatment for them,” Dr. Koury said. “It’s not safe for them to leave.”

The impact of the changes is being reflected in comments made on patient surveys sharing perceptions of the care provided by clinicians and nurses and of the overall patient experience. In a little more than three months, negative comments have dropped 18%.

Dr. Koury noted that patients served by Adena Fayette Medical Center, Adena Greenfield Medical Center and Adena Pike Medical Center can also feel confident in the emergency departments located in those critical access hospitals, with the quality of care provided by the physicians and nurses in those areas on par with those working at ARMC.

While a commitment to continuously strive for that next level of service is an ongoing process, Dr. Koury said patients can trust their emergency care to Adena Health with a clear sense of what to expect upon arrival.

“You should expect a more friendly, engaging staff,” he said. “We’re going to see you quicker, your care is going to be more efficient and timely because of the process we’ve put in place, and the overall experience should be better for you.

“If you haven’t been to our ED in a while and the need for emergency services arises, give us another chance to do right by you. That’s why we’re here.”