Thursday, April 12, 2012

Executive Director of KCK School Foundation for Excellence recommends Providence Emergency Room

As a life-long resident of Wyandotte County, Shelley Coulter, executive director of the KCK School Foundation for Excellence, considers Providence Medical Center, Kansas City, Kan., her hometown hospital.

So when she began experiencing symptoms she thought might be related to a heart attack, she headed to the first hospital she thought of—Providence. “I had had a difficult experience at the hospital during a previous visit, so I was hesitant to return,” Coulter admits.

“But I have a long history with Providence,” she explains.  “I was born at the old St. Margaret’s Hospital, have had two children at Providence, know lots of good people who work there and have been through the hospital’s Emergency Services department several times over the years. Even though I could have driven to another hospital just as easily, I believe in second chances and I decided to give Providence one that day.”

After a thorough cardiac evaluation, doctors determined she wasn’t experiencing a heart attack at all, but instead was having an acute gallbladder attack. A surgeon removed her gallbladder promptly, and a few days later she was on the road to recovery.

“Every experience I have had in the Providence ER has just gotten better and better,” Coulter says. “I have been impressed with the care I have received at the hospital. Providence is our community hospital, and I would encourage area residents to give it a second chance too.”

Providence Redesigns Emergency Services Department

The Providence Emergency Services Department recently underwent a “radical redesign” in its processes, a redesign that has resulted in improving the ER’s “door to doc” time to just 30 minutes, no matter what your concern.

“Probably the most impressive thing about the new process from a patient’s perspective is how quickly you see a provider,” says Greg Epperson, M.D., medical director of Providence Emergency Services.  “The patient simply tells an intake coordinator their complaint, then they are taken immediately to an examination room where they see a provider.  We have eliminated all of the layers in between and the need to ask the patient to repeat their story over and over again. We really haven’t had anyone in our waiting room since we began using this process.”

The improvements in emergency care at Providence are the result of direct input from the bedside nurses and physicians caring for the hospital’s patients. 

“During the redesign process, it became clear that the reasons patients come to the Providence Emergency Services Department have changed through the years,” explains Tom Weidmaier, R.N., director of the Providence Emergency Services Department.  “About 65 percent of the department’s patients have non-life-threatening emergencies that can be assessed and treated quickly, such as broken bones or stitches. The remaining 35 percent have life-threatening emergencies that require more extensive assessment and hospitalization.”

To provide outstanding care to both groups, the Providence Emergency Services staff established two teams to deliver emergency care simultaneously.

An express team cares for the majority of patients. An acute team cares for patients who are sicker or who have life-threatening illnesses or injuries.

With the new express and acute teams, the department is staffed to care for both types of patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week,  providing excellent care for life-threatening conditions AND optimal and timely care for the 65 percent of patients who come into the department with non-life-threatening conditions.

Other improvements include:
  • Significantly lowered the percentage of patients who leave without receiving treatment from 8.8 percent in June 2011, to 1.6 percent currently.
  • Reduced the length of stay for patients admitted to the hospital from 282 minutes in February 2011, to the current 208 minutes. 
  • Lowered the amount of time patients who are treated and released spend in the Emergency Services Department from three hours in June 2011, to less than two hours currently.
  • Reduced the overall average length of stay in the Emergency Services Department for all patients by 14 percent.