Why hospitals are adding ER cubicles

U.S. hospitals are designing more compact exam and treatment areas in their emergency rooms as they seek to wisely use available space, according to The Wall Street Journal.

These more compact areas are meant to cater to emergency room patients with less serious problems.

By creating them, hospitals hope to increase capacity for patients with serious conditions and improve efficiency of patient visits while averting costs associated with expanding their ERs, the WSJ reports.

As an example, the publication cites efforts at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, where 16 cubicles, also known as pods, were added to the ER. The pods — for patients with less serious problems — are reportedly each about half as large as a traditional ER exam room. They feature reclining chairs rather than beds, as well as three walls and a curtained opening.

Jody Crane, MD, an expert in ER operations and chief clinical officer of emergency medicine at TeamHealth, a Knoxville, Tenn.-based medical services provider, told the WSJ pod designs vary — with some designs allowing for more privacy than others. But he projected that 30 percent of U.S. emergency departments have, at least to some degree, created more compact areas as part of the ER space.

Read the full WSJ report here.

 

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