South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday July 16, 2019
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February 2017 - Volume 13 - Issue 8

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Broward Health North's New ER Offers a 'Better Patient Experience'

A better patient experience – that was the driving force behind Broward Health North’s new Emergency Room. And a better experience is definitely what the patients are getting.

Robert Bugg, interim CEO of Broward Health North, explained that the previous ER simply "did not have the space for the number of patients." He said that over the past 20 years, the admissions were increasing at an average rate of 1 percent per year. "So we were in a situation where we were having a number of patients in the hallways, and that's not a nice experience for patients, to have to be in the hallways and be seen by staff and physicians."
 
Dr. Evan Boyar, MD, FAAEM, Chairman and Medical Director, ER, agreed that crowding was the underlying concern in the prior structure, but added that the set-up also sometimes hampered the flow of care, because the ER was constructed almost like a silo and is now more of an open floor plan. "Now our patients are able to be evaluated with their families in their own private room, so it really helps their experience."
 
The private rooms include a built-in bench where family members can sit. "They're right at the bedside so they can engage in the plan of care for the patient with you. There is also a TV in each room for the families to be entertained when tests are taking place. There are nice photographs and murals in each of the rooms, which is aesthetically pleasing." Bugg added that the pictures were taken by some of the staff and physicians. "We had them blown up and they're right above the bench area where everyone sits, and it brings a nice calming effect to the room."
 
In addition, the rooms have sliding glass doors, so they can be closed if the patient is seeking privacy. "It makes them feel 

a little more secure and it's quieter than it used to be," Bugg said. "You can imagine what it was like before, with everything going on, and with people being worked on in the hallways. So the experience I would say is much less intense, which is the word I like to use. Now it's really nice and the atmosphere is less intensive, it’s more calming to the patients and to the staff as well."
 
Dr. Boyar added that the rooms are universal with a number of capabilities, meaning patients can be treated with a variety of technologies in any of the rooms. The new space has a dedicated pediatrics area, which is set away from the rest of the emergency department. He said other major upgrades were three dedicated trauma bays in the level 2 trauma center. They are strategically located right off the entrance where EMS comes into the area, 

as are two dedicated medical resuscitation rooms. The enhanced ER provides more support to the comprehensive stroke center, the cutting-edge cardiovascular center, and decontamination room.
 
With the new 36,000 sq. ft. area, Bugg said extra staff was added, including medical personnel and paramedics, along with cleaning staff, and transport and respiratory staff.
 
All of this has indeed brought about a better patient experience. Dr. Boyar said that each day he works he receives comments like, this is terrific, it's spectacular. He continued, "Some of the patients before were complaining about how long they stayed in the emergency room. Now they're actually saying that they wish they could stay a little longer."
 
The new ER opened in December, and Dr. Boyar said the move was "as smooth a transition as it could be. You can imagine the number of moving parts that are in an emergency department at any one time. We chose a time of 4 a.m. on December 11. We moved every patient from our old ER to our existing Emergency Department, then had to coordinate our computer systems, phone lines, monitoring, supplies. And it went off without a hitch. Everybody had the same goal, to provide the best patient experience. With that in mind we all worked together collaboratively."
 
Not only has the new department improved patient experience, but it has also increased the number of admissions that can be handled. As Robert Bugg stated, "With the current configuration, we're at about 64,000 visits per year. Anything above 60,000 falls into a high-capacity emergency room, according to national guidelines, and we have the availability of going up to about 75,000 visits with this new configuration. So we're pretty well set for the future."

For more information, call (954) 786-6860 or visit www.browardhealth.org.

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