Hospital CEO treated at own ER pushes to streamline department

Nothing drives change more than a senior leader who has seen the other side of the customer experience.

After a hospital's CEO was admitted to the ER at her hospital and found it wanting, plans are afoot to speed patient flow through the emergency department, the Gallatin News Examiner reports.

In December Sumner Regional Medical Center CEO Mary Jo Lewis went to the ER virtually incognito to have mild chest pains checked out. ER staff didn't catch on that she was their CEO until halfway through her visit, because she wasn't wearing her usual corporate attire, but blue jeans, a T-shirt, flip flops and no makeup. She turned out to be fine.

While "undercover," however, she learned that her hospital's ER wait times stretched up to four hours, compared to the national average of 90 minutes.

"It's fascinating at the end of the day to see how many steps are duplicated, and nobody knew because registration and nursing don't cross-train," Lewis said.

Afterward, she called for help from parent company LifePoint, which sent an efficiency expert over the help cut unnecessary repetition out.

Some of the changes range from easy fixes, like not routing spillover calls from the switchboard operator to the ER reception desk during lunch, to simplifying registration forms and screening procedures.

To learn more:
- read the Gallatin News Examiner article

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