You may have heard the term Rapid Medical Evaluation used in healthcare conversations recently. In a nutshell, RME shortens a patient’s waiting time. But how has that affected Sherman’s Emergency Department?
For the answer, we spoke with Pam McCord, Director of the Emergency Department at Sherman Hospital.
Sherman Health Blog: What makes Rapid Medical Evaluation different than past processes?
Pam McCord: RME is different from “Fast Track”, which was our past process. The key to RME is that a Mid-level or physician provider sees the patient upon entry into the system. The provider completes a rapid assessment for the patient and writes orders for care regardless of whether the patient will complete their visit in the RME area or in the main portion of the Emergency Department.
This allows for initiation of care such as lab draws and x-rays early in the stay. Because of this, the practitioners are able to treat and make a final diagnosis in a more timely manner.
SHB: For the typical ER patient, how much waiting time is saved thanks to RME?
PM: Last year at this time, prior to RME, the average wait time for a patient to see the provider was 85 minutes. In December 2010, the average wait time was 29 minutes.
SHB: What has patient response been like?
PM: Volumes in the Emergency Department are up over 20% since last January. We attribute this to the increased satisfaction of the patients.
SHB: Do you think RME is effective, and do you think it’s the best process for Sherman’s Emergency Department?
PM: Our ED has a very low Left Without Being Seen Rate (1%), much lower than the national average (greater than 3%). In general, patients leave without being seen because of wait times. RME is a very effective process, and the response in increased patient volumes and patient satisfaction have been a demonstration of its success.
Our thanks to Pam for taking time out of her day to shed light on Sherman’s RME process. If you take away one thing from this Q and A, it should be this: Average emergency wait times were nearly 90 minutes one year ago, and are now under 30 minutes. To learn more about our Emergency Services, visit shermanhealth.com.