Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Awarded to South Lake Hospitals Emergency Department

South Lake Hospital was recognized for its implementation of a rapid treatment unit (RTU) in the emergency department.


Kim Couch
[email protected]

CLERMONT, Fla. — South Lake Hospital received the 2013 Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award from the Florida Hospital Association (FHA) Thursday, Oct. 17, at the Annual FHA Celebration of Achievement in Quality and Service Awards in Orlando.

The Innovation of the Year in Patient Care Award is given to one large (more than 150 beds) and one small (under 150 beds) each year and honors hospitals and health systems that have developed or implemented creative, new methods and models for delivering patient care. South Lake Hospital was recognized for its implementation of a rapid treatment unit (RTU) in the emergency department.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said South Lake Hospital President John Moore. “Our entire emergency department team has worked extremely hard to make our rapid treatment unit a success. Their passion and dedication has resulted in better care for patients in our community.”

The RTU was launched in January 2013 and greatly increases the speed at which lower severity patients are treated. Incoming patients that are classified as acuity levels “4 or 5” with symptoms such as ear infections, small cuts and headaches are sent directly to the RTU area. RTU patients are then seen in the RTU treatment room by a dedicated nurse and provider. This allows the patient to be quickly diagnosed, treated and released in a much more efficient and timely manner and leaves the other emergency department rooms open for those who have higher acuity levels. 

In the past six months, the triage to bed wait time for level 4 and 5 patients has been reduced by 50 percent with a medium of nine minutes. In addition, RTU patients have seen the average length of stay decreased by 40 percent and the provider to disposition decision decrease by 33 percent. Providers have found that they are seeing the same number of patients in one exam room than they used to see using four exam rooms. The RTU has created a greater capacity so that all patients can be seen quicker; including those have higher acuity levels. 

The RTU, although still in its first year of implementation, has already proven to achieve the goal of improving throughput times for all patients and getting patients to the right setting of care each time.

The winners are selected by FHA leadership and a team of judges from outside of the state of Florida. This is the second consecutive year South Lake Hospital has received an award. In 2012, South Lake Hospital received the FHA Community Benefit Achievement Award.

About South Lake Hospital LiveWell Campus:
South Lake Hospital’s LiveWell Campus includes the 122-bed non-profit hospital, in partnership with Orlando Health, Centre for Women’s Health, LiveWell Fitness Center, National Training Center, South Lake Endoscopy Center, South Lake Surgery Center, South Lake Home Health, South Lake Wound Care and campus partners Special Olympics Florida, Brandy Johnson Global Gymnastics and several medical office buildings. South Lake Hospital has been serving the healthcare needs of the South Lake community since 1947 and employs 1,100 employees and has more than 200 physicians on its medical staff.