STEGH boasts best ER wait times in Ontario
For people using the emergency department at St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital, there’s some good news — you probably won’t spend much time there compared with other hospitals.
The average time spent in the emergency department for admitted patients was 7.2 hours — a number below that of every other hospital in the South West Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), according to data released recently by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) based on the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
The average wait time in emergency departments for the Southest LHIN was 22.7 hours while the average wait time in Ontario was 32.8 hours.
The data also reveals STEGH has the shortest wait time to be admitted to hospital among medium-sized hospitals in the province, which had an average of 34.9 hours.
Nicholas Gnidziejko, CIHI’s manager of clinical administrative databases operations, said emergency department wait times are calculated by looking at the time interval between when patients are triaged or registered and when they leave the emergency department and are admitted into hospital.
“(STEGH) definitely (has) some of the shortest times across the province,” Gnidziejko said.
Ninety per cent of patients spent less than the average wait time in the emergency department at STEGH, Gnidziejko noted.
There were close to 52,000 emergency department visits at the hospital in 2017-2018, a number that continues to rise year over year. But, this isn’t the first time the St. Thomas hospital has been able to brag about it — they’ve been doing this since 2011.
“Although every hospital is different, I think we all share the common pressure and that’s the growth in the emergency department is outpacing a lot of other growth in funding,” said Karen Davies, STEGH’s vice-president and chief nursing executive.
Davies said part of what sets STEGH apart is having everyone engaged in the work and looking through the perspective of the patient and “always looking to improve.”
“There’s a lot of moving parts to what we do to make sure that our (emergency) volumes are manageable and they’re managed within those timeframes,” Davies said.
STEGH emergency department’s new location within the hospital’s expansion opened earlier this year.