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HSN posts best improvement for ED length-of-stay

Dr Rob LepageSUDBURY, Ont. – Health Sciences North has achieved the best improvement in Emergency Department wait times among teaching hospitals in Ontario, according to the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

HSN’s overall 90th percentile ED Length of Stay (LOS) for all patients for the fiscal year 2013/14 was 9.8 hours, approximately an hour-and-a-half lower than the average of 11.2 hours for all teaching hospitals in the province last year.

In 2012/13, HSN’s overall Emergency Department LOS for all patients was 11.9 hours, meaning a year-to-year improvement of two hours.

The improvement in the ED LOS last year was achieved even though the number of people visiting the ED increased by 6,000 over the previous year, to approximately 66,000.

“This improvement in our treatment times is a credit to the hard work and efforts of the entire ED care team,” said Dr. Rob Lepage (pictured), ED physician and Medical Director of the Emergency Department. “That said, we are constantly looking at making improvements that will further enhance care and reduce our treatment times.”

The Length of Stay (LOS) refers to the total time a patient spends in the ED, from the time of registration to the time of discharge, either being sent home or to an inpatient bed.

The 90th percentile LOS refers to the maximum amount of time 9 out of 10 patients spend in the ED being diagnosed, receiving treatment, or waiting for a hospital bed. Most patients spend less time, while one out of ten patients will spend more.

The ED care team at HSN has put in place a number of measures to improve treatment times and the flow of patients through the department. They include a “See and Treat” area for patients with less serious conditions, an acute observation area for patients with specific, more urgent health concerns, and daily huddles where ED staff discuss the patient load for the day and how best to meet any challenges that arise.

“First and foremost, this is an achievement for our ED care team, which deserves full marks for the progress made in improving the flow of patients through the department,” said David McNeil, HSN’s Vice President of Clinical Programs and Chief Nursing Officer.

“Credit must also be given to all our clinical programs and our healthcare partners in the community,” said McNeil. “ED wait times are affected by how safely and smoothly we can transition patients from the ED to the inpatient floors, and then back into the community, and how well we can avoid readmissions to the ED or a hospital bed. Our clinical programs and community partners have done a wonderful job of transitioning patients back home safely, which eases the pressures on the ED. There is always room for improvement, but we do feel that we’re heading in the right direction.”

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