Hospitals use 'quick look' to fight ER crowding

Many emergency departments may be suffering from overcrowding, but the good news is that the problem is pushing many hospitals to be creative in finding solutions. One such solution is the so-called "quick look."

Instead of leaving patients waiting, possibly for hours, if they don't have obvious, urgent problems, the quick look involves getting the patient in to talk to a nurse or healthcare professional within five minutes of arriving at the emergency room. Then the hospital aims to get the patient to a doctor within 30 minutes.

Some hospitals have seen drops of 70 minutes or more in average waiting times using the process, and also report that they have seen huge drops in how many patients leave the emergency department without being seen.

In some cases the process costs slightly more, but mostly it's about rearranging personnel to get doctors and nurses to the patient at the beginning of their visit instead of the end.

To learn more about the procedure:
- read this Houston Chronicle piece