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New unit designed to reduce wait times in Niagara Falls ER

Posted Oct 13th, 2009

NIAGARA, ON – A new rapid assessment unit in the Emergency Room at the Greater Niagara General Site is designed to improve patient flow through the ER and reduce wait times for less urgent patients.

With the opening of a Clinical Systems Investigation (CSI) Unit, more patients can be assessed and treated at the same time. A nurse can speed up a patient’s assessment process using standardized medical directives to order blood tests, X-rays or other procedures. Traditionally, patients must first wait to see the physician, who then orders blood work and other tests in order to make a diagnosis. The CSI process expedites the ability to get the doctor the information they need before seeing the patient for the first time.

“We’ve seen positive results in St. Catharines and Welland where we have introduced similar units in the ERs,” says Anne Atkinson, Vice President Patient Services. “The CSI Unit is a great way to give less serious patients more timely care in the ER.”

The Welland CSI opened in June 2009 and in October 2008 at St. Catharines General Site. At the Greater Niagara General ER, a number of other initiatives are being introduced to improve the patient experience and wait times. This includes a new model of physician staffing in the ER that will have more ER doctors seeing patients at peak-time hours. Historically, one doctor worked a 10-hour shift and another 14-hour shift at the GNG ER. As an interim step, the NHS is changing to a system where two doctors will work 12-hours shifts and one other will work a 10- hour overlapping shift, so there are two ER doctors working at the same time during peak hours. Ultimately the goal is to have two ER doctors working around the clock.

"The changes that are underway at the GNG ER are no different than changes that have already been implemented successfully at other sites of the Niagara Health System," says President and CEO Debbie Sevenpifer.

“Emergency Rooms are incredibly busy places, and we are proud of the doctors and nurses for their commitment to reducing patient wait times,” says Pat Morka, Health Program Director for Emergency Medicine.

For more information, contact:

Caroline Bourque Wiley
Consultant, Public Affairs
905-378-4647, ext. 43113

Niagara Health System