Skip links

Eliminating the ER Waiting Room

Dr. David Feinberg, former UCLA Hospital System CEO and current CEO to the Geisinger Health System and known for his bold opinions and innovative strategies in the healthcare industry has struck again with a proposal to put an end to the ER Waiting Room.

His key points to the proposal revolve around a patient-centric approach to patient care.  Feinberg stated that the waiting room proves that the patient is on the provider’s time, even in the case of an emergency.  But more so than that, the idea of having a group of sick people with different ailments all in one place can only make those interacting with each other even sicker by contracting what another patient may have.

Feinberg’s proposal is expected to come to its fruition by late 2018 in which he anticipates a new system in place such as online registration or even through the use of a specialized app for all incoming patients.  The goal is a zero-minute wait time in which the staff is ready and awaiting of the patient in need of care.  What will become of the empty space in the waiting room?  Along with his proposal to eliminate the waiting room for patients, Feinberg also plans on renovating the waiting room space to allow doctors and specialists to have added room to bring in patients and treat them accordingly.

Dr. David Feinberg has been named in the 50 Most Influential Physician Executive Leaders by Modern Healthcare.  His approach to healthcare is just that: providing healthcare to those seeking health care.  He has been known to make ER rounds in which he personally speaks with patients and ensures their well-being and satisfaction.  While at UCLA, he created a standardized, but warm greeting to let patients know that there is a structure and process to their way of operating; but to also allow both the patient and provider a chance to connect before the patient walks in the room.  During his time at UCLA, the satisfaction scores went from the 38th to 99th percentile.  Now at Geisinger, he continues to place forth small changes with great outcomes.  The ProvenExperience initiative granted refunds to all patients who were dissatisfied with their hospital experience.  Refunds ranged from $1-$2,000.  Since the initiative’s launch in November of 2015, Geisinger has refunded nearly $500,000 to patients who have filed a claim.

According to Michael Williams, CEO at Global Healthcare IT, this makes perfect sense.  Satisfied customers invariably return, and they are substantially more likely to refer a family member, friends, or colleagues.  The negligible cost of the refund, coupled with a genuine commitment to improved quality of delivery generate more business, and drives the attention of national, and industry specific media organization and social or technical groups such as ours.  In addition, as more organizations see the worth of improved patient care, Americans, as a whole, will receive better treatment.