Newly Renovated Emergency Department Now Open

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Newly Renovated Emergency Department Now OpenThe University of Illinois Hospital unveiled its newly renovated emergency department Jan. 29 at a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by faculty, staff, and hospital administrators.

The $3.5 million renovation, begun in early 2017, will help care providers see patients sooner and give patients an overall better experience.

“I’m so pleased that our emergency department has had these updates,” said Dr. Robert Barish, vice chancellor for health affairs at UI Health. “This renovation not only improves the look and feel of the space, but it also provides the alterations necessary to better accommodate our patients’ needs, keep wait times low, and support our staff in doing their jobs more efficiently.”

“We wanted to improve our work flow first and foremost, so that patients were seen more quickly, but we also installed new technology to help us work smarter,” said Dr. Terry Vanden Hoek, chief medical officer at UI Health and head of emergency medicine in the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine.

Volume at the emergency department has grown to see more than 46,000 patients each year, explained Vanden Hoek.

“Our goal is to have the majority of our patients see a physician or advanced-practice provider within 30 minutes of arrival,” he said. “Since many of the new features of our emergency department have come online, we have been able to meet that goal.”

Under the new renovation, patients will enter through a newly redesigned entrance and waiting room where they will be greeted by a nurse trained to recognize symptoms of serious conditions that require immediate attention, including stroke and heart attack. If tests are needed as part of a patient’s evaluation, they will be started right away.

Incoming patients will have the option to receive text messages from staff regarding lab test results, information about the doctors and nurses providing care, and next steps during their visit.

A new centrally located nurses’ station makes it easier for nurses to discuss next steps in patient care with their colleagues. Nurses and other staff also can call for housekeeping, dining services, and patient registration at the push of a button instead of making a phone call. A large flat-screen monitor — known as the “operational dashboard” — gives the emergency department staff a real-time snapshot of how the department is running by providing information on average patient wait times and the availability of beds.

All pediatric beds are now private rooms with televisions featuring child-friendly programming. “This gives our pediatric patients more privacy and helps reduce some of the noise they are exposed to when the emergency room gets busy,” Vanden Hoek said.

The renovations also include a new state-of-the-art isolation room designed to allow for the safe treatment of patients with highly-infectious diseases such as SARS or tuberculosis. It includes an anteroom where care providers can safely put on and take off protective clothing.

“Overall, the emergency department now runs much more seamlessly, and from what we are hearing from patients, they like the changes we’ve made,” Vanden Hoek said.