With the new process, emergency care begins within five minutes of a patient's arrival time and a doctor examines the patient within 30 minutes.

Long waits are often synonymous with emergency room visits, creating anxiety and frustration for patients and their loved ones. That's why Saint Joseph - Martin has introduced a groundbreaking "No Wait ER" to eastern Kentucky.

With the new process, emergency care begins within five minutes of a patient's arrival time and a doctor examines the patient within 30 minutes.

"This new time frame will allow the hospital to provide a better experience for patients, while continuing to deliver the same high-quality care that patients expect from Saint Joseph - Martin," said Kathy Stumbo, president of Saint Joseph - Martin. "Through looking at our registration and care processes in the emergency department, we were able to better streamline our resources to meet these new goals. Our staff couldn't be more excited to introduce our revamped 'No Wait' ER to patients."

Traditionally, once a patient entered an ER, she or he was met by a receptionist who began the registration process. Then the patient was seen by a nurse who assessed the severity of his or her condition. If the patient's illness or injury was not serious, he or she was sent back to the lobby to wait for a room assignment.

At Saint Joseph - Martin's No Wait ER, a patient is seen by a nurse, who begins the treatment needed, within five minutes of arrival. For example, if someone brings in a child who has injured his arm, the nurse can order X-rays. If a patient has certain symptoms of a particular illness, the nurse can order lab tests. All of this happens even before the doctor sees the patient within 30 minutes.

With a No Wait ER, Saint Joseph - Martin will better serve its patients more efficiently. "We are seeing patients enter our ER who are very sick and who may not have access to primary care," said Melinda Stumbo, nurse manager of the emergency department. "Now, our waiting room will not be overcrowded and patients will be comforted to know they will see a nurse within 5 minutes of their arrival."

"Part of our mission at Saint Joseph - Martin is to offer person-centered care," Kathy Stumbo added. "That means we partner with our patients and their families, treating them with dignity and respect, to deliver health care that will lead to the best outcomes. Reducing our wait times in the ER will not hamper care, but enhance the patient's experience."

Saint Joseph - Martin joins its sister hospitals-Saint Joseph Hospital (Lexington), Saint Joseph East (Lexington) and Saint Joseph - Jessamine (Nicholasville)-in introducing a No Wait ER. Saint Joseph Health System plans to implement the new program in its remaining facilities (in London, Bardstown, Berea and Mount Sterling) later this year. The program is the first of its kind in Kentucky.