Summer Soiree

Emergency Care is No Accident at Newport Hospital

Newport Hospital EDJohn remembers seeing the triage nurse in our emergency department when he arrived experiencing excruciating abdominal pain. He later described her as calm, knowledgeable and caring. She made him feel that everything was going to be okay.

Within minutes, Anthony Napoli, MD, director of the emergency department, was there.  A nurse promptly started an IV, took a blood sample and called for an abdominal CT scan.  Diagnosis: a kidney stone.  John received medication and an emergency phone number to call, if necessary, over the weekend.

John later wrote to Newport Hospital President Crista Durand expressing his appreciation for the outstanding team that cared for him. What John didn’t recall from his visit was how busy the ED was: our staff made him feel like he was their sole focus from the moment he arrived.

You might think this story is unique, but this is now a typical experience for patients in our ED since new initiatives and protocols were put in place last year to reduce wait times and improve patient satisfaction. The result: waiting times are the lowest in the state, surpassing national standards, and patient satisfaction ratings are in the top fifth percentile of similar community hospitals nationwide.

“Newport Hospital’s unique challenge is that we have great variability in our emergency department volume,” explains Dr. Napoli. “While winters can be fairly quiet, summer volume increases 40 percent and can sometimes more than double what we see on a winter day.”

With new systems in place this past summer (one of the busiest summers the ED has ever had), wait times were as low as 16 minutes, beating national benchmarks. “We are proud of these results. Our patients felt respected and cared for and got the fast, efficient, skilled treatment they deserve,” says Dr. Napoli.

But Crista Durand and Dr. Napoli know systems alone are not enough.

“Sustaining these improvements is difficult if you don’t change the environment,” explains Crista. “Reality is, any day in the summer and fall, I can walk down to the ED and there will be seven patients in the hallway. The staff goes above and beyond to compensate for having 17 beds when we need 25, having one triage bay when we need three, and not having a behavioral health area.” 

Plans are underway to transform the emergency department and provide increased access and services for the community.

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