Elmhurst Hospital is in the midst of a $20-million re-design, and the hospital says it’s seeing too many patients.
In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Chief Operating Officer Jennifer Biel told The Gazette the hospital is trying to improve its patient-doctor relationships.
“It’s not that we don’t care about the patient,” she said.
“We just don’t want to put our patients at risk.”
A few weeks ago, a new $3.3-million patient-provider relationship was established.
Biel said that while it’s a long-term effort, the changes are intended to help ensure patients are getting the care they need.
“We’re working on how to keep them connected,” she told The Globe.
“What we are doing is looking at how to have a patient-to-patient relationship and how to ensure we’re working with each other and with our staff, how to be better, more effective partners.”
Biel said the hospital also is looking to make its emergency rooms more accessible, and to make sure its staff is on the same page.
She said the new system, which has been in the works for years, is aimed at giving the hospital more time to develop a more streamlined and responsive system.
“The biggest challenge for us is that we are in a very busy time,” she explained.
“As a hospital we are always looking for new ways to do things.
We’re looking at what we can do in terms of the systems and our staff and our resources to help with that.”
When the hospital re-opens, the new, $3-billion patient-policies and protocols will likely be in place by the time it opens.
Buel said the system is meant to be more streamlined, but the new arrangements will be more rigorous than those that existed prior to the re-engineering of the hospital.
“If you look at how the system worked before, we were not able to move quickly enough to meet the demands of our patients,” she pointed out.
“As we get into the future, we want to make things more streamlined.”
The hospital also announced that the next round of changes, which are scheduled to take effect in June, will also include a $2.8-million pilot program to allow more staff to stay at the hospital longer and allow patients to access the emergency rooms sooner.
Biel acknowledged that some staff were hesitant to leave because of the long wait times.
“A lot of people want to stay here for the long haul, and that’s a lot of time,” Biel explained.
“But we also have to be mindful that as long as you have the capacity to care for our patients, you have to stay with them.
If we don to, then our patients are going to get better.”
In the interview, Biel also addressed some of the concerns about the hospital’s staffing.
She noted that the hospital has increased staffing recently and that she thinks the increase is necessary.
“To get that capacity in the right place is one of the things we have been trying to do,” she added.
“So it’s not a case of, ‘we don’t need this number.’
It’s a case that we need this capacity, and we need to have that capacity with the right people.”
While it’s still too early to tell how many patients are on the wait list, Buel admitted that the waiting list is high.
“At the end of the day, we don-want to be able to say that it’s like this.
But we know that it is,” she acknowledged.
Buel also said that the new changes to the hospital are intended for both the staff and patients.
She pointed out that the hospitals goal is to provide quality care and support for both patients and staff.