The Wait is Over for Emergency Department Patients at St. Elizabeth Hospital

Scott Lindvall, AIA


In today's emergency departments, the challenges are complex. The need for immediate patient care must co-exist with staff efficiency, space restrictions, accessibility to equipment, complicated treatment protocols and the bottom line. This has resulted in long patient waits and, consequently, customer dissatisfaction. At St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wis., however, "The wait is over," as the organization's President Travis Andersen is fond of saying.

The hospital's new no-wait emergency department and surgery procedure area is the result of an innovative design process. As part of the Affinity Health System, St. Elizabeth sees its commitment as a wheel, with personalized patient care at the center. So when it came time to re-envision its ED, St. Elizabeth's administrators, staff and architectural team initiated a process that began with feedback from 400 patients and staff.

Overall, St. Elizabeth's customers articulated 73 areas for improvement - including a new ED entry area with immediate accessibility. This critical feedback was then integrated with a renewed cultural commitment to patient-centered care, and proven strategies from the fields of Evidence-Based, sustainable and Lean operations and design.