E.R. sees record numbers while achieving low wait times at KRMC

Emergency Room staff at Kingman Regional Medical Center treated 3,848 patients during January 2008, which set an all-time monthly high for the hospital. On Feb. 6, the E.R. set a daily record of 152 patients. Even with these record numbers, E.R. wait times were very low and patient satisfaction scores for January ranked above the 92nd percentile when compared with other hospital emergency departments nationwide, according to KRMC.

Hospital officials attribute the recent record numbers to incidences of respiratory and GI tract ailments that normally escalate during winter months coupled with the long-term growth already being experienced by the E.R. KRMC's 19-bed emergency room has seen a 27 percent increase in visits over the past three years. During 2007, it averaged 3,300 patients per month.

To match the community's growing need, KRMC has worked to dramatically reduce emergency room wait times while improving the quality of patient services. Over the past year, KRMC averaged 2 hours below the 4.5-hour Arizona average for E.R. wait times - even while the number of daily visits continued to grow.

According to Janet Gode, KRMC Emergency Room director, many hospital departments are working together to meet the goal of serving E.R. patients more quickly. "Nursing, x-ray, the clinical laboratory, and housekeeping are providing excellent turnaround times, which facilitates the time it takes to see and care for patients in the E.R.," she said.

The E.R.'s efficiency has also been enhanced due to the leadership of Dr. Michael Ward, KRMC Emergency Room medical director. Ward has streamlined many E.R. processes based on his experience while serving as a physician and commanding officer with the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, KRMC has implemented advanced technologies to reduce paperwork, automate time-consuming manual processes and improve patient care. One of these includes a new monitoring system that allows staff to view the status of E.R. patients at all times. The hospital also plans to expand the E.R.'s capacity by another eight beds in 2008.

"KRMC's E.R. has the necessary resources for providing first-rate care to a large number of patients in a timely manner. Our highly efficient team of professionals can flex with the continual up and down that is typical of a busy emergency room," Gode said.