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Q: What is the hospital doing to improve waiting times in the emergency room?

Most patients' number-one question about the emergency department is how long it will take to be seen by a doctor. After all, the ER is a busy place—we see around 68,000 emergency patients a year, making Maui the second-busiest emergency department in the state.

We track patients from the moment they arrive in the ER to the moment they're discharged. Gathering this information helped us make simple changes, like adjusting shift times, so that we have more people on staff during peak arrival times and streamlining processes like getting lab results back faster.

Now, the average length of stay in the emergency department is down to around 140 minutes. That's better than the national benchmark of 180 minutes. And the average time it takes to see a doctor from the moment you enter our doors is just 14 minutes, less than half the 30-minute national benchmark.

We're happy with those results, but we're working on reducing the wait even further. Starting next year, we'll begin implementing a program called "Provider in Triage." With this program, a doctor will meet each patient from the moment they walk in the door, reducing the waiting time to almost zero. After all, if I was a patient, that's what I'd want—to be seen by a doctor right away.

Lee R. Weiss, MD

Emergency Medicine

EMA Business Office
898 N. Pacific Coast Highway
Suite 600
El Segundo, CA 90245