The Chatham-Kent Health Alliance is working on lowering wait times in its emergency departments.

CEO Lori Marshall says the goal is to lower the time from when a decision is made to admit a patient to when that patient gets into a bed.

The current average wait is 13.5 hours, but hospital officials would like to get that down to under eight hours.

“How long does it takes for us to notify housekeeping that a bed is available and needs to be cleaned,” Marshall says. “How well are we doing about filling our shifts, so if we’ve got sick time or vacation time and all of a sudden we don’t have staff available on a unit.”

What the efforts won’t affect, however, is going through triage, registration, and an initial assessment by a doctor.

Marshall says while the CKHA isn’t as negatively impacted by so-called “hallway health care” as other hospitals, more can be done to speed up the process to get patients into a proper bed.

“Whether it’s private, semi-private, or ward accommodations, the level of activity is much more appropriate and conducive to your getting better.”

Marshall says focusing on ER wait times will have a spill-over effect into other areas, including wait times in departments throughout the hospital.