The Future of Emergency Medicine, Now

By: Porter Regional Hospital Last Updated: November 6, 2012

Future-of-Emergency-Medicine-1From the Summer 2012 StayHealthy publication

At more than three times the size as its former location, the Emergency Department (ED) at Porter Regional Hospital is certain to impress. Here are a few of the many important changes that have been made in the ED.

Q: Why is bigger better?
A: Since the ED was first built more than 70 years ago, the area's population has grown by almost 6-fold. So, the number of patients we see in the ED grows every year, and we need to be able to serve them. At the former location we had 12 treatment rooms, and we now have 32. We believe this will adequately accommodate our present and future needs and ensure patients can be seen in a timelier manner.

Q: Have you increased the size of your ED staff?
A: Yes our staff has grown to better accommodate our new size and to ensure our patients receive efficient, fast attention. In addition to our current outstanding staff, we've recently increased our number of specially trained doctors and nurses who provide consistent, high-quality emergency care.

Future-of-Emergency-Medicine-2Q: What types of emergencies can be handled?
A: As before, we are equipped to handle a variety of trauma, cardiac, and routine acute events. We have three rooms dedicated to trauma and three others specifically for patients with cardiac problems. These rooms are larger than the other rooms and include very sophisticated equipment. It is also important to point out that these three rooms are next to the ambulance-only doors and in close proximity to the helipad. They were located here because these are the patients where minutes matter, and we can expedite care and treatment. We have included two secure rooms for patients with behavioral or psychological needs. Keeping all of our patients safe is a priority.

Q: Are you close to other departments?
A: The design of the ED is very forward thinking. In addition to helping patients get better, we want to reduce the time it takes for them to see a caregiver and reduce the time it takes to get necessary treatments or diagnostics. For instance, we used to have to move patients the distance of almost two football fields before we could get them to any level of diagnostic imaging or cardiac care, and now it's all right next door. And, because we can go in the "back door" to these areas, we keep the patients out of the public view.

Future-of-Emergency-Medicine-3Q: Is there more privacy?
A: Absolutely! The rooms all have three walls and a door (not just curtains), and the rooms for trauma and cardiac patients are all glass on the front so we have visual contact at all times. We have also invested in advanced monitoring equipment which provides important data at the nurses' stations. For patient and family comfort, each room has a flat screen TV, Wi-Fi access and seating for family and physicians. We also have two separate and private triage rooms, where before we had none.

Q: Why was it so important to completely revamp the ED?
A: The entire hospital experience has been rethought. Porter was given the opportunity to create something wonderful, not just add on to or patch up. The need for many of the services in the hospital first arises in the ED. Now we are just steps away from every department that affects our level of care. In emergency medicine, minutes matter and the new ED was designed to improve efficiency.