(WMC-TV) - Emergency room wait times could be the difference between life or death. New research reveals some Memphis hospitals are above the national average, which is 28 minutes.
"We have swings up and down in our census, and this December we've seen almost 1,000 patients more than we did last December," said Baptist Memorial Memphis emergency room manager Melanie Mays. "Our goal is really to pull directly to a room ... Your emergency is our emergency. We understand that you're not coming here to clog up the emergency room, you're coming here because we are your first choice or last resort."
Thanks to her leadership efforts, the hospital has dropped wait time significantly in one year— averaging just 39 minutes. It is one of the lowest in Memphis city limits.
Methodist Hospital Memphis ranks highest with an average wait time of 55 minutes. The Regional Medical Center (The MED) is slightly lower at 54 minutes. And behind those two sits St. Francis at 51 minutes.
The highest in the state is over in Nashville at Vanderbilt where the average wait time is 78 minutes.
The list is compiled by ProPublica.org. It measures are based on a year's worth of data that is updated quarterly. The last update was December 12 of last year.
Baptist Memorial says they have worked hard to reduce wait time and improve patient satisfaction.
"We have a great team of nurses and doctors here and it is our goal, we all have an aligned goal, it's patient care," said Mays.
The MED released the following statement:
Home to the only Level 1 Trauma Center in this region, Regional Medical Center's emergency department is a busy one. Providing exceptional services and compassionate care in a timely manner to all patients in the emergency department is very important to Regional Medical Center. In recent years, hospital staff has worked on several process improvement projects to speed the patient's flow through the emergency department. While progress has been made in the reduction of wait times, we are constantly looking at our processes to make improvements for our patients.
Methodist released the following statement:
"We understand when you have an urgent health care need, the last thing you want to do is wait. Having some of the busiest emergency departments in the city, Methodist is always looking at ways we can improve the service we provide our patients and their families.
In 2011, Methodist was the first hospital systems in the Mid-South to develop an app to allow residents to determine which Methodist Hospital emergency room has the shortest wait time. Up-to-the-minute emergency room wait times are also available on the main page our web site www.methodisthealth.org.
In addition, we are in the process of building a $33 million replacement emergency department at our flagship Methodist University Hospital. The project is slated to be completed in August of this year, and will allow us to better serve patients and their families, as well as increase efficiency. We are also looking at ways we can improve the wait times across the rest of our system, ensuring the best possible care." - Michael Ugwueke, COO, Methodist Healthcare
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