Hospitals finding solutions for ER overcrowding

There's no question that hospitals are struggling, and not just financially: wait times in the ER are up, and frustration and the potential for death or serious complications for critical patients is up with them.

Luckily, hospitals are not just throwing in the towel, or complaining about the increases in patients who don't have primary care doctors and therefore go straight to the emergency department for every case of the sniffles. Instead, they are continuing to come up with potential solutions to the problems they are facing, USA Today notes.

For example, some hospitals are creating "fast-track" areas to treat minor injuries or illnesses, with physician assistants or nurse practitioners working there to free up doctors to treat more serious problems. Others are turning to technology, such as tracking systems to keep track of patients and know where the empty beds are. Still others are trying to reduce wait times to nothing by allowing triage nurses to start ordering tests, and transferring registration to the bedside when a bed is available.

While none of these ideas is a full solution to the problems facing emergency departments today, each of them is helping streamline the process to make patients safer and happier.

To learn more about the possible solutions:
- read this USA Today piece