As a public hospital, Stroger Hospital in Chicago is often
jammed with adults who have limited or no access to primary care.
And even though the hospital has a separate pediatric emergency
room, many of its young patients have been forced to wait around
until they could be shuffled through the process with the
Recently, Stroger instituted a pediatric no-wait policy that moves
young patients out of the line and straight into the pediatric
"Our adult ER is just swamped and they do a fantastic job, but
they're overwhelmed by the numbers," says Dr. David Soglin,
chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at Stroger. "On the
pediatric side, we're not nearly as overwhelmed, but we were having
pediatric patients stuck in the process of getting triaged and
Now, as soon as children enter the main emergency room, they are
taken back to a bed or chair in the pediatric ER, where triage
nurses begin their evaluations. Instead of leaving their child's
side to fill out registration papers, parents can stay with the
child while a registration clerk comes to them. Physicians can
start caring for the child while parents complete
"In the old system, children would get triaged, then registered,
then seen. Now this can occur simultaneously," says Soglin. "I
think we've cut a significant amount of time from door to
Even if the number of pediatric patients jumps as a result of the
expected flu season, the no-wait policy still should cut a
significant amount of time out of the process. And if children do
have to wait, they will be in the child-friendly pediatric area,
"Families have been very happy with it," he says. "They come
expecting to be here forever, and then to be in and out in a pretty
brief amount of time is a surprise."
Liz DeCarlo is the former senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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