Behind the scenes

ER wait times:
Big changes for a shorter wait

Ask someone what comes to mind about hospital emergency rooms and chances are good you’ll hear something about waiting.

Sparrow Hospital in Lansing has one of the largest and most advanced Emergency Departments in the state. We’re the only Level 1 Trauma Center in mid Michigan, and, more people prefer our ED than any other in the region.*

We’re honored to be the choice of so many, but there’s a flipside, too. Wait times in our flagship ED have often been long and, understandably, a source of frustration for our Patients. Here’s what we’re doing to fix the problem.

See a doctor, faster

Robert Siedel, a Sparrow Process Redesign Specialist, describes a “massive action to improve the Patient experience” that began in Spring 2016 to shorten ED wait times. The centerpiece of this effort transitions the initial Patient assessment to a doctor earlier in the process. This change not only expedites the Patient’s treatment plan, but in the cases of minor illness or injury, it can help fast-track Patients to get them home sooner.

“Our new process is working,” says Tammy Banker, Sparrow’s Director of Emergency Services and Organizational Throughput. “In 2015, average wait time from arrival in our ED to seeing a doctor was 57 minutes. Today, we average around 20 minutes.”

Choose the right care

Selecting the right care setting is another way to receive the right treatment, faster. By definition, Emergency Departments care for the most critically ill or injured Patients first. It is not a first-come, first-served environment.

Everyday illnesses and injuries may be better suited for Sparrow Urgent Care or Sparrow FastCare options. Both offer morning and evening hours seven days a week at locations throughout the region. And, both offer online appointments so you can wait at home until your designated appointment time.