Chestnut Hill Hospital updates ‘fast-track treatment’ to speed up emergency room visits

Since Chestnut Hill Hospital’s new emergency department debuted in late October, patient volume is up over 13 percent a month in 2013.

“We’ve experienced such an increase in the amount of patients that our old intensive care unit was renovated so that we could speed up our fast-track service,” said hospital CEO Dr. Joseph Cacciamani. 

“We’ve added an additional eight beds already,” he continued. 

The fast-track treatment helps alleviate the burden on the emergency department by allowing people with milder symptoms to quickly get in, get treatment, and get on with their day.

Benefits of fast-track treatment

The newest renovations immediately became useful earlier this year when seasonal outbreak of influenza was the worst in a decade, according the CDC.

The fast-track was vital to handling the increase of patients explained medical director Dr. Gerald Wydro, who oversees the department.

“Anytime you’re dealing with a large influx of patients the first responsibility of the emergency department is to triage, and with a flu epidemic you have a lot of people who are ill, but not critically sick,” said Wydro.

“This is where fast-track is tremendously valuable. It allows us to treat those less sick, but still get them care quickly because we have a dedicated area to manage those patients,” he said. 

The old ICU was unused when the decision to transform it for fast-track service was made. With many medical accessories and accommodations already in place, the overhaul took a little over week.

“Efficiency is something we think is important, so we’re making a pledge to get you back to see a clinician within 30 minutes of walking in the door,” said Cacciamani. 

Going forward

The hospital is also affliliated with university hospitals throughout the city, including Pennsylvania Hospital and Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.

“We want to be able to deliver whatever you need, whenever you need it hear at Chestnut Hill, and if it’s something we can’t do we have an infrastructure that can get you where you need to be,” he said.

Chestnut Hill Hospital is the only hospital in Philadelphia to be acknowledged as a “Top Performer” in key quality metrics two years in a row by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.  This recognition ranks them among the top 4% in the United States and is something Cacciamani is very proud of.

 “I know we’re a relatively small hospital, but we’ve got treatment that’s better than anybody in the city and 96% of the entire country,” he said. 

He says the hospital is working with the commission on receiving accreditation for chest treatment.

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