Bedside registration frees up space in ED

Registering patients in treatment rooms frees up much-needed space in crowded waiting and registration areas. The amount of space needed for these areas is reduced, possibly eliminating the need for spacious waiting areas.

Some EDs find there is no longer a need for a large main waiting room. "We actually have blueprints drawn up to decrease the size of our waiting room because we don’t have much use for it anymore," says Lindy Rose, RN, director of the ED at Harris Methodist-Fort Worth (TX). The extra space will be allocated to the ED’s quick care and admissions areas.

"We’ve already identified that we may need less space in the registration area. As a result, we may be able to do something else with that space," says Joseph Simon, MD, medical director for integrated care delivery and formerly the medical director of the emergency department at Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center in Atlanta.

However, there is a trade-off for making a crowded waiting room a thing of the past. Examining rooms will be occupied longer. "The flip side is, we have patients in the clinical rooms longer than we normally would," says Simon. "So, if one of the ways you look at productivity and financial success is how many patients are put through a room each day, it will actually decrease."

EDs with a separate waiting area for registration may be able to downsize or do away with it altogether. "We have a waiting area for registration and don’t need it anymore, but the other waiting area really doesn’t change," explains Simon. "If the rooms are full, it doesn’t matter where you’re registering patients, you still have to put grandma and grandpa and four other kids in a waiting room."