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Emergency department cuts wait times in half

Emergency department cuts wait times in half

OCEANSIDE – In January, Tri-City Medical Center’s emergency department transformed how patients are handled, triaged and prioritized, allowing patients quicker access to a physician and comprehensive treatment. After six months, these changes have produced dramatic savings reduction in wait times resulting in increases in patient satisfaction.

New arriving patients are now seen by a Registered Nurse immediately. The medical center’s June data showed that they were assigned to a room within 19 minutes of arrival and were seen by a doctor within 25 minutes. When the program launched in January, the average waiting time before seeing a doctor was 45 minutes.

The emergency department’s transformation has been well received by the community.

“Anecdotally, patients are telling us how happy they are with the service, and our survey data confirms it,” said Susan Kirk, the medical center’s director of emergency services. Surveys received in May showed that patients rated Tri-City Medical Center’s emergency department in the top 10% of all California hospitals for waiting time “before being noticed.” They also rated it in the top 6% statewide for doctors’ courtesy, and top 10% nationwide for doctors’ “taking time to listen.”

“Our staff and doctors are very proud. It’s professionally and personally rewarding for them to see our patients so happy, satisfied and well cared for,” said Kirk.

The current emergency department wait time can always be found on the medical center’s website at

The Tri-City Medical Center emergency department sees approximately 70,000 patients a year, from highly critical patients brought by ambulance to those referred by physicians to walk-ins.

About Tri-City Medical Center

Tri-City Medical Center is a Gold Seal-approved, full-service, acute-care medical center with two advanced clinical institutes and physicians practicing in 60 specialties. The medical center, a leader in robotics and minimally invasive technologies, has served the community for more than a half-century. It is administered by the Tri-City Healthcare District, which includes parts or all of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and San Marcos.