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Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island has instituted a new rapid assessment model of care for patients coming to its Emergency Department, cutting the time a patient waits to be seen from more than 40 minutes to just 20. This new care model is in effect 24 hours a day.

“We recognize that one of the biggest obstacles to receiving care in the Emergency Department is wait time. Patients come to the ED in pain or distress and waiting for several hours is unacceptable,” says Laura Forman, MD, chief of emergency medicine at Memorial.

Trimming the wait time was made possible by establishing a more streamlined patient journey through the ED. Now, a patient arrives at Memorial’s ED and is brought immediately to an intake booth in the treatment area. From there, several steps are taken to ensure a speedier start to the patient’s care, including registration, bed assignment, meeting with the nurse/provider, and any needed lab work or x-rays.

“Once testing is done, we can decide if the patient needs to be admitted for further treatment or discharged. If we are discharging the patient, we will give instructions for care at home and any necessary prescriptions,” Dr. Forman says. “This creates a more efficient and effective emergency department, both for our patients and our community partners in emergency care.”

The new practice highlights Memorial’s commitment to providing the best possible care for its patients in a variety of settings – emergency and primary care – every day.

“We are committed to providing the safest patient experience, combined with the highest quality, to yield the best possible outcomes,” says Acting President Edward Schottland. “Our rapid assessment model of care not only ensures faster service for our emergency department patients, but means that their overall experience in the ED is shorter and more comfortable.”

A similar model of care initiated at Kent Hospital, also a Care New England hospital, in 2010 resulted in patient satisfaction scores that rank Kent’s ED as one of the best performing in the nation in the area of patient satisfaction and experience of care.

In addition to the rapid response service now in place at Memorial’s ED, the following changes have been instituted in the past few months:

• The availability of psychiatric evaluation 24 hours a day through Memorial’s affiliation with Care New England and its partners Butler Hospital and The Providence Center 

• Seven-day a week coverage for male and female urology patients 

• Expanded coverage in orthopedics 

• The introduction of Press Ganey patient surveys to help improve service 

For information on services available at Memorial Hospital ED, go to or call (401) 729-2419.

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Emergency Services