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St. Michael’s Hospital Praised for Reducing ER Wait Times

Health Minister Deb Matthews praised St. Michael’s Hospital during a visit on Thursday for reducing emergency room wait times by 16.7 hours (61 per cent) for patients who require complex medical care or admission to hospital.

Toronto, July 29, 2010

St. Michael’s has also reduced ER wait times by 4.6 hours (45 per cent) for patients with minor conditions.

Matthews cited the hospital’s exceptional progress in announcing the provincial government’s wait time initiative or Pay for Results program would be extended to another 25 hospitals across the province, bringing the total to 71.

“Using the Pay-for Results program, St. Michael’s hospital has lowered ER wait times in a way that few hospitals in this province have managed to do,” Matthews said.

“You’ve gone from having overall wait times that were more than 25 hours to having wait times that are less than 10 hours. You’re a model for hospitals across the province.”

Chief Executive Officer Dr. Bob Howard said St. Michael’s has been working diligently on wait times “because it is the right thing to do for our patients.”

“Getting care sooner means better care,” he said, cautioning, however, that there is still more to do.

The steps taken by St. Michael’s to reduce wait times include:

  • a discharge planning toolkit for nurses and teams to work together at the early stages of admission to ensure patients are safely and appropriately returned home or to the next level of care sooner
  • development of e-tools, including a daily planning tool that tracks patients coming into and leaving the hospital and a management toolkit that helps alert staff to take action when a patient has been waiting too long for care. This is supported through daily patient status review meetings with front-line charge nurses across the hospital to ensure patients are getting the right care they need when they need it
  • designating a separate “fast-track” area so patients without life-threatening injuries can receive treatment quickly from dedicated nurse practitioners.