MJH Working to Cut Wait Time for Patients with Minor Injuries - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

MJH Working to Cut Wait Time for Patients with Minor Injuries

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Martha Jefferson Hospital is looking to change your emergency room experience.

Some patients dealing with non-life-threatening injuries, like a broken finger, have waited sometimes up to two, three, or four hours. Now, doctors at Martha Jefferson say you'll wait no longer than 90 minutes.

The new system is called ED Direct. Doctors say the goal of the system is for each patient to be treated quickly, instead of patients having to compete for care based on how serious their injuries are.

A new unit at Martha Jefferson Hospital is dedicated to the system.

"Because we're seeing more minor acuities, we're seeing a lot of patients at one time so we can see some patients and then have some wait in the waiting room until their X-ray results come back," said nurse practitioner Cawood Fitzhugh-Bowman.

It's a place to treat patients who come in with minor injuries - like a sprained ankle or broken bone. The injuries vary but the goal is the same - an in-and-out service. It's unlike a typical ER setting where patients move through in an assembly line-like process. Doctors say the system works because it's based on multi-tasking.

"The nurse practitioner and myself, for instance, may go in the room at the same time or they may be in there with the nurse and registration at the same time rather than going step by step," said Dr. Leroy Caudill, ER medical director.

Because the patients have minor injuries most of them don't require a bed, leaving even more room in the unit for everybody. Doctors say they are also shaving off time during a patient's visit by the way they look at X-ray results.

"We're not waiting for the official reading necessarily. The physician and nurse practitioner are giving the wet reads and then the radiologist will call us if there's a difference," said Caudill.

Not waiting on X-ray results from a radiologist can save patients from waiting at the hospital for hours.

Hospital staff says they've been meeting their timing goal of getting a patient in and out in less than 90 minutes. The unit was originally only up and running a few days a week, but now they are using it every day.

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