Patients at New Hanover Regional Medical Center are spending less time waiting and more time receiving care, thanks to the addition of a Rapid Admit Unit at the medical center.
This unit is designed to cut wait times significantly and, once it’s been determined that a patient will be admitted, allows care to begin immediately, rather than holding patients in the Emergency Department while waiting for a bed.
A newly implemented bedside registration process allows patients arriving from physicians’ offices to be admitted immediately rather than waiting in the Admitting Department lobby. Patients make a quick stop in Admitting to have demographic information entered into the computer, then are ushered to the Rapid Admit Unit and into a bed within a minute or two. A staff member from registration then comes to the patient’s bedside with a laptop computer to fill out all of the necessary paperwork.
“Conservatively speaking, it has reduced the average wait time in the lobby from an hour down to five minutes, if that,” said Rapid Admit Manager David Doolittle.
Once in the Rapid Admit Unit, nurses create a plan of care and start treatments. Patient teaching and discharge planning also begin here. Most patients remain in the unit for about two hours while their care is begun and tests are run before being transferred to their assigned rooms.
A team representing many departments of the medical center developed the idea of bedside registration after discussing ways to more quickly begin patient care.
“Simultaneously, lightbulbs came on,” said Doolittle. “We’ve got the beds . . . we’ve got the technology. Let’s use them. We knew this was a winning idea.”
The unit has recently begun a pilot program with the hospitalists from Wilmington Health Associates to move patients from the Emergency Department into their beds faster as well. Once the determination has been made to admit a patient in the Emergency Department, the emergency physician transfers care to a hospitalist and the patient is then in the Rapid Admit Unit within 30 minutes, compared to a previous wait that may have lasted several hours.
“It just can’t get any better than that for our patients,” Doolittle said. For more information about the Rapid Admit Unit, please call:
Initiation of IV infusions
Initial administration of needed medications
Initial admission assessment and patient history
Completion of procedures
Telemetry cardiac monitoring
Administration of blood products
Initial patient physical exam by registered nursing staff