Day 3- In an Emergency Room

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We the whole class at Emergency Room for Future visited the actual emergency room of Emory Crawford Long Hospital. I walked with our teacher Ellen Do and a couple of friends to the hospital. The first point which flashed through my mind when I entered the hospital was that there were no proper signages to guide a patient to the Emergency Departmenant. They have some signages though.

We were given a warm welcome by Dr.Ackerman and Ms.Margolis. We were taken to a conference room and we had a series of team building games. Those games helped me to understand how effective our communication should be and especially the last game without talking induced some thoughts in me. In an ER if a patient is not able to talk or if his by-stander is not able to communicate properly how will things work when an emergency props up. It is too difficult. Hats off to the ER folks!!

After the games, the whole crowd was split into two groups. I was in the first group. Our tour instructor explained us the process at Emory ER in detail. She also answered all our questions. I am now going to write down my learnings and takeaways from the visit.

  • Registration The first place a patient visits when he enters an Emergency Department is the Registration Desk. The patient needs to fill his registration details as well as medical history. Many people don't what medicines they are taking and for what reason they are taking. Hence, some people tend to carry all the medicines which the take.
  • Triage Every patient is asked a series of questions by the nurse at the ER. Based on the acuity,the patient would be associated with a color tag. A computer program helps in the triaging process, with an inbuilt scheduling algorithm. Each color tag is associated with a level of acuity. The patients would be called out, and then would be taken to Triage Rooms. There are 4 Triage rooms in total. The interface of the Computer Program is not that good. If we can make that better then it would be good.
  • Waiting time Waiting time for a patient in Emory ED is around 7 hours. We could help them reduce this waiting time using a better scheduling software which can be filled in at home/ambulance and which can be filled by the patient as well as his by-stander/family member.
  • Patient Transfer Patient transfer is a problem in Emory. A patient may suffer 7-8 transfers in the ED for different kinds of diagonosis. Can some mobile point of care/test help them?
  • Staffing There would be two physicians in total. There would be around 30 nurses in total for the ED. The nurse to patient ratio is 1:4.