Dr. Eagerpants and Patient Satisfaction in the Emergency Department

My newest bête noire, Dr.Eagerpants, was working — he’s apparently has designs on the Knob of the Year Award — so I accordingly have a blindingly bad headache. Posting will be necessarily brief.

Typical conversation:

Dr Eagerpants: Snarl gnash slobber grrr snutch fritz crump fdhgisk woof woof woof?

Me: No, I am not moving the the 89 year-old, nursing home, normotensive, DNR patient in controlled atrial fibrillation to the Resus Room because the nursing home thinks she’s “real sick.”

Dr. Eagerpants: Gnarl slurp burble meow hiss frumple woof?

Me: No, the physicians do not control the Emergency Department. If you wanted to run the department, you should have become a nurse.

Oy. And so on. And He supposedly did his residency at a Big Downtown Hospital.

***         ***          ***          ***          ***

On a not unrelated note, let’s talk about patient satisfaction. Two questions:

What is patient satisfaction in the Emergency Department? How can it be defined?

How can it be improved? Are there quick wins? Or paradigm shifts?


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  1. #1 by rww on Tuesday 18 May 2010 - 1012

    From a purely layperson approach I would say patient satisfaction probably depends on why the person is in emerg.

    If it’s for a real serious emergency it probably depends on the treatment – whether you saved the patient’s life, etc.

    If it’s for a trivial complaint it probably depends on how long they had to wait.

  2. #2 by Bina on Tuesday 18 May 2010 - 1041

    For me, patient satisfaction is nothing complicated–just a matter of being seen quickly, by someone who cares, and getting some relief. I’m thankful it’s been a long time since I’ve needed emergency medical care, because even in 1981, I was kept waiting a long time in local Emerge–with a broken pelvis, no less. I had to be transferred to Sick Kids before anyone even gave me something for the pain. An hour-long ambulance ride, on a comminuted pelvic fracture, with no painkillers–that’s what DISsatisfaction with emergency departments is like for me.

  3. #3 by emergencyem on Wednesday 23 June 2010 - 1047

    In the inner city emergency department I work in patient satisfaction can be graded not only by how many times i get asked “how long will I be waiting?” but also on how many people leave before being seen due to our good old faithful regulars screaming, shouting, crying, spitting, projectile vomiting….etc etc etc

    Staff satisfaction i grade on how many people tell me they are going to be sick before they do it on my left trouser leg as I walk by. How many Patients say thankyou. how many patients smile as they catch your gaze, how many people actually need treatment after triage instead of being sent home with a polite explanation of an emergency and an accident

    As for Doctors, in my experience ask them to read an ECG and they masterfully cast their educated gaze and declare what the patient needs. However, ask them to quickly photocopy a patients notes as they are completely blocking all access to the machine while doing something (I’m sure is) very important, and they look at you as though you asked them if you could perform the next thoracotomy blindfolded while humming the national anthem!

    A different world!

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