Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Begins Emergency Department Provider in Triage Program

March 2, 2017

Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center is piloting a new program in the Emergency Department. Provider in Triage is a process created to improve the patient care experience by decreasing the time it takes patients to see a medical provider.

Patients who meet criteria are seen through an expanded triage process that incorporates a rapid assessment by both expert nursing staff and a medical provider. This team approach allows providers to begin the medical workup and often provide treatment while patients are still in the waiting room. Once in a treatment room, initial test results are available and many patients can be either admitted or discharged.

“This type of process is effective during the busiest times in the Emergency Department,” says Pamela Vyhonsky, Operations Coordinator of Conemaugh Memorial’s Emergency Department. “The opportunity to receive feedback from our patients and better determine how and when to use this process will help providers streamline the process and continue to enhance Emergency Department services.”

The primary goal of this process is to improve the patient care experience. By incorporating the medical provider into the triage process, Conemaugh staff are able to initiate testing sooner and hopefully better utilize the time patients spend in the Emergency Department. Triage is a critical step in any Emergency Department visit. It allows patients to be quickly assessed when they first arrive to identify whose symptoms may be due to potentially serious or even life-threatening problems and then prioritize treatment to patients who need it the most.

“We are seeing a decrease in the average time it takes for a patient to see a provider on our higher volume days,” said Andrew Gaunt, Emergency Room Nurse Practitioner. “We have also received some valuable feedback from our patients and we are using that feedback to continually improve the process."

Emergency Department staffs are specially trained to treat acute illnesses and injuries. A patient’s primary care provider (PCP) is always the best choice for treating ongoing medical conditions. Urgent Care centers, such as MedWELL Urgent Care, are appropriate when an individual becomes sick or injured, but a primary care physician is not available for an immediate appointment.