Source: The News-Enterprise
ISSUE: Hospital will acquire a CT scanner for ER
OUR VIEW: Wait times, treatment being addressed
Hardin Memorial Hospital is addressing its most pressing need with a $15 million upgrade and expansion of the emergency department.
Construction crews have been at work since September building the structure. Including renovations to the existing ER, the work will be completed in about a year.
In the meantime, hospital administrators and its board of trustees continue to look for improvement opportunities to address daily overcrowding in an ER which experiences more than twice the daily patient load it was designed to serve.
The most recent announcement is an additional $1.5 million investment to provide a CT machine dedicated exclusively to the emergency department.
When up and operating, that decision will lessen wait times for patients — a major criticism of ERs everywhere.
CT scans widely are used in emergency rooms because the non-invasive exam takes seconds and the process typically requires less than five minutes. At times, transporting a patient from the emergency department to the current CT machines can take longer than the scan process.
HMH completed 15,900 CT scans on emergency patients in fiscal year 2016, which is roughly 1 out of 5 emergency room patients.
Best suited for bone injuries, lung and chest imaging or cancer detection, a CT scan commonly is used in ER settings for diagnosing acute strokes, chest pain and abdominal pain.
Of course, a dedicated CT will provide faster diagnostic information for physicians working on emergency cases. Minutes matter in the emergency room. Accelerating development of effective treatment plans will ease suffering, improve outcomes and, in some cases, could be the difference between life and death.
For the typical ER patient, it is a convenience which is expected to lessen their time waiting for treatment by 30 minutes. It also means staff will not be away from the emergency department pushing a patient through the corridors to a CT scanner.
Other hospital patients also will benefit because emergent needs will not force the delay of scheduled CT appointments.
Acquiring another CT scanner is not revolutionary news, but it is another step in a line of improvements and investments to Hardin Memorial Health as part of the hospital’s comprehensive plan to address real and perceived patient opinions. It also fits HMH’s overall goal of providing optimal care to every patient.
This editorial reflects a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.