Operational Problems facing Santemarie Emergency Department
Being the only emergency care unit at the hospital, the Santemarie ED is facing congestion problems given the relatively large number of patients it has to serve every day. Per se, the patients are obliged to wait for a considerable number of minutes in the queue to be served by the hospital staff. For instance, due to the congestion problem at the ED, the median wait time to be attended to by a health physician at the Santemarie University Hospital increased from 22 minutes to 30 minutes. In addition, the ED department is facing a shortage of competent and experienced medical given that close to half of the doctors at the ED are interns who are constantly in the move.
Most patients also complains of their safety and quality of services delivered at the hospital’s Emergency Department. During to the long waiting time, approximately 5 % of the patients left the hospital’s ED without being attended to by a physician each day. The ED is also facing some morale problems with most experienced professionals resigning due an increase in stress levels and severe patient dissatisfactions. Loss of a substantial amount revenue was also experienced at the ED given that most of the unattended patients left for private hospitals.
Assessment of current performance and what drives the problems
Currently, the waiting time for highly acute patients has reduced to 20 minutes, but the risk of mortality rates is still too high at the hospital. The administrative staff is very committed despite the inherent challenges facing the ED providing secretarial support to the overstressed doctors. Despite the challenges, the doctors and nurses at the hospital’s ED are highly committed towards the provision of prompt and quality service delivery. With a stable inflow of patients at approximately 60, 000 annually, the ED strives to eliminate the operational challenges facing it and to provide quality services to its patients. Most of the patients arriving at the ED are attended to by experienced nurses as they wait for their turn to see the doctors. Although the number of patients that arrived each day at the Emergency Department was soaring. The physicians really doing their best to reduce the waiting time and to promptly attend to their patients.
Average waiting time
The average time the patients wait before entering the care process
Let Lq be the average number of patients in the system waiting in the line to be served.
Lq = ʎ2/µ (µ-ʎ)
ʎ= Arrival rate= 155 patients per day (3600 minutes) = 23.23 patients/minute
Average service time= 70 minutes = µ
Therefore, Lq = 23.232/70 (70-23.23)
= 0.16 customers
The solution to Santemarie Hospital ED problems
The time has come for the hospital management to divide the ED into two separate units comprising of inpatients (acute cases) and outpatients (non-acute cases). Though this is an expensive exertion, the ultimate benefits will be worth the commitment. Correspondingly, the hospital management should consider establishing a centralized and coordinated communication process within the ED to increase the rate of service delivery. The negative perceptions of increased stress levels should also be addressed by the management and the staff encouraged to continue serving the patients despite the numerous challenges. The Emergency Department wait times can also be reduced by encouraging various departments to work together. Communication between departments is key as it will determine the ultimate patient turnover, satisfaction levels and quality service delivery at the ED.