NEWARK, N.J. — Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 18 for the opening of its new “Fast Track” unit. This Fast Track unit is designed to provide faster treatment to patients with minor injuries and illnesses. The new unit is located in a previously unused portion of the hospital’s main emergency department.
The new Fast Track unit is intended to help reduce overall wait times for all patients who seek care in the hospital’s emergency department (ED). Saint Michael’s already had among the shortest wait times in Greater Newark, according to statistics compiled by Medicare. In the last report available on Medicare’s Hospital Compare, the average time patients spent in the ED at Saint Michael’s before they were seen by a healthcare professional was up to 30 minutes. Since then, St. Michael’s has reduced the time to 20 minutes as a result of a number of changes in the emergency department.
With the new Fast Track unit system, when patients arrive in the ED, they will be assessed within minutes by triage staff. If it is determined that the patient has a minor injury or illness, they will be sent to the Fast Track unit, which can treat a wide variety of non-life-threatening illnesses. The Fast Track unit will have five exam rooms and a transitional waiting room, where patients can go while they wait for lab results or diagnostic imagery.
The idea behind the transitional waiting room is to prevent patients who aren’t critically injured from occupying an exam room while they wait, which in essence means another bed being made available for another patient. In addition to making more beds available in the Fast Track unit, the new system will also free up beds in the main ED for patients who are more critically ill, which will help reduce waiting times for those patients as well. The addition of the Fast Track unit will also help reduce wait times for EMTs.
“Our goal is to ensure all of our patients receive the highest level care within minutes of entering the emergency department,” said Kevin Edwards, M.D., medical director of the ED, in a recent interview with tapinto.net. “We will provide even more efficient care so patients can have their medical problems addressed without spending their day waiting.”