University Medical Center at Princeton’s Emergency Department

At University Medical Center at Princeton’s Emergency Department, providing patients with outstanding clinical care in a timely and efficient manner is a top priority. And it shows.

UMCP regularly participates in patient satisfaction surveys rating New Jersey emergency departments (ED). According to Emergency Department Chairman Craig Gronczewski, M.D., UMCP’s ED consistently rates in the top 25 percent of hospitals and recently was rated in the top 1 percent for September, 2008.

“This reflects our commitment to superb quality of care, patient safety and patient satisfaction,” Dr. Gronczewski said. “We see more than 100 patients a day, and we put great effort into making certain we’re prepared.”

Dealing with an unpredictable, unscheduled environment poses challenges, yet the UMCP ED is prepared for a steady surge and the rare lulls. The management team of experienced, board-certified emergency physicians, highly skilled nurses and technicians, and advanced equipment, all help streamline patient flow to drive good medical care.

“Our state-of-the-art computerized tracking system monitors patient flow so we can see how long each patient spends in triage; how long it takes to see a doctor; how long it takes to get labs, X-rays or tests; and how long it takes for those results to come back,” added Dr. Gronczewski. “We constantly use that data to improve patient flow.”

Getting patients to a doctor quickly is important to the ED team. The UMCP ED uses a two-phase registration process. Upon arrival, only the minimal amount of identification information is taken so the patient can move quickly through triage and into diagnosis and treatment. Once the treatment plan is initiated, a registrar goes to the patient’s bedside to complete the process.

Another way the UMCP ED gets patients to quality care quickly is the Fast Track Suite, open daily between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. The Fast Track staff care for patients with less serious illnesses and injuries. Approximately 30 percent of ED patients are seen in the this area, which boasts patient satisfaction that is consistently among the top 10 percent of hospitals, as well as an average length of stay that is less than 90 minutes from arrival to discharge.

“We’re able to send patients with isolated injuries or complaints to Fast Track,” Dr. Gronczewski noted. “We can treat them quickly and get them on their way. It’s part of our driving philosophy: avoid the waiting room as much a possible. Let’s get patients to doctors in 30 minutes or less.”

In addition to “traditional” emergency services, UMCP also can perform emergency angioplasty on certain ED patients suffering from heart attacks. A critical lifesaving procedure for heart attacks, emergency angioplasty is provided to patients by a special team of board certified physicians, specialists and nurses.

“We’re also a New Jersey state-designated Primary Stroke Center,” Dr. Gronczewski said. “It’s one of the region’s most comprehensive treatment programs for strokes, including 24-hour access to specialists such as neurologists and neurosurgeons, as well as specialized radiology tests such as CAT scans and ultrasounds to provide rapid neuroimaging.”

UMCP’s ED is open 24-hours a day, seven days per week, 365 days per year.

University Medical Center at Princeton’s Emergency Department. 253 Witherspoon Street, Princeton. 609-497-4000.

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