Mar 14, 2013 8:55 PM by Siera Santos

Shorter ER wait times at Colorado's busiest hospital

It's the busiest ER in Colorado and one of the busiest in the country.

At Memorial Hospital in Colorado Springs, the empty seats in the waiting room are a welcomed sight. The hospital treats nearly 110,000 patients every year. In 2012, almost 4-percent of patients would walk out without every being seen by a doctor because of the excessive wait times.

The average wait time on the busiest day, Monday, was over five hours. Now, they've shaved two hours off that wait.

"Patients always received great care, but in the past there would be times when I'd have to walk into a room and apologize for the wait," said Dr. George Heartner, the Medical Director of Memorial Hospital North, "I have to catch myself now and realize I've taken care of patients this week that were in to see me and were taken care of and evaluated within minutes."

In a collaborative effort, the hospital made the change on February 28. Nurses no longer take vitals and then send patients back to the waiting room.

"Patients really want to be seen as fast as possible. They don't want to tell their story over and over again. They want to tell their story to the physicians and they want they physicians to take actions to take care of them," said Heartner.


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