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Athens-Limestone Hospital Touting New Staff and Laboratory Zip Tube

ATHENS, Ala. (WHNT) -  There are new changes at one hospital in the Tennessee Valley aimed at making medical emergencies a lot easier on patients.

The overhaul is going on at the Athens-Limestone Hospital.

That’s where an upbeat staff in action greets patients looking intimidated and weak.
Staff member are upbeat, perhaps, because of changes there to make the worst of times a little better for everyone involved.

That includes minor tweaks to major investments.

“Streamline our processes and cut out things that are wasteful that really don’t add any value for the patient,” said Stephanie Ritter, the Emergency Room Director at Athens-Limestone Hospital, describing some smaller changes.

“When I first started here,” recalled Dr. Doug Moore, an emergency room physician, “Maybe two physicians would cover a 24 hour period, but now we’ve got double and triple coverage, with not only physicians but nurse practicioners.”

Moore and Ritter say nearly 100 patients daily are enjoying the new efficiencies implemented in October.

They include a new zip-tube system that will expedite a painstaking process.

“We recently installed a tube system from the emergency department to the lab that will allow us to get a patient’s labwork very quickly to the lab so that that can be processed,” said Ritter.

In a nutshell, the hospital now has more doctors and nurses, quicker processes and labwork in a zip, which all adds up, they say, to faster patient care and less waiting time.

“It’s allowed us to decrease our “left without being seen” our length of stay, so great improvements from that,” said Ritter.

The hospital’s CEO, Kelli Powers, posted a statement on the hospital website stating the average door-to-discharge time for a patient was up to two hours and 20-minutes.  Her goal for the ER was to reduce that two hours.