In the News: Hospital CMO Cuts ER Wait Times in Half
The beginning of a journey — how the University of New Mexico Health System CMO cut ER wait times in half
Under the leadership of CMO Irene Agostini, MD, University of New Mexico Hospital — the flagship hospital of UNM Health — reduced the time it took for a patient receiving care to get from the emergency room to a bed from 13.7 hours in March 2015 to 5.8 hours in October 2016.
Located in Albuquerque, UNMH is New Mexico’s only Level I trauma center and manages more than 93,000 emergency visits annually. To address ER overflow, Dr. Agostini implemented patient flow technology solutions from TeleTracking to increase her team’s patient care capacity. TeleTracking automates manual patient flow processes by digitally tracking patients and beds, thereby expediting patient throughput and enhancing efficient utilization of a hospital’s facilities and equipment. According to UnitedHealth Care consortium data, UNM Health was the No. 11 most improved health system for patient throughput efficiency from fiscal year 2015 to fiscal year 2016.
In January, Dr. Agostini spoke with Becker’s about leadership strategy and patient flow improvements at UNM Hospital.
Note: Responses have been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Question: Prior to the implementation of the patient flow technology, what challenges were impeding care at UNM Hospital?
Dr. Irene Agostini: We’re literally the only Level I trauma center in the state. Before we implemented the patient flow technology, nobody really knew what was going on in the building. We were just putting fires every day. We would have to cancel elective surgeries and the emergency department was constantly in crisis. There was a sense of crisis throughout the hospital. Patients would have to be sent out of state or just not get care. Physicians were almost always angry because they couldn’t take care of patients. In our building we run 95 percent or above for physical capacity for adult patients. If you include patients waiting in our ED and our transfer units, we run at more than 100 percent capacity every day.
February 08, 2017