Inside the news: Traffic lights keep ED patients moving in an Ohio hospital

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, March 10, 2009

Traffic lights in Akron, OH, are doing more than just controlling the flow of cars. At Akron Children’s Hospital, they are improving patient flow in the emergency department (ED).

Three traffic lights were installed in the ED at the hospital—an ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® designation recipient in 2007—to let staff and walk-in patients know whether a room is open for bedside registration. One light is placed in the lobby and two are positioned by the nursing station.

When a light is:

  • Green—Patient’s check in with a nurse to be admitted into an empty room, where they are registered at the bedside.
  • Yellow—Patients know rooms are filling up.
  • Red—Rooms are full and patients must wait in the lobby for the next available room. During this time, ED staff provide lab and radiology tests while patients are waiting.

Since implementing the traffic lights, along with a few other initiatives, the time patients wait to see a physician has decreased from 40 minutes to 26 minutes. And the traffic lights came at a cheap cost because Karen Warren, the department registration supervisor, purchased them at a local flea market.

For more information on patient flow, read “Small changes can improve patient flow”


Most Popular