For people that don't want to access the whole article, here are a few paragraphs that summarize it pretty well...
"The Rapid Medical Evaluation and Express Care program positions an RME physician, a triage nurse, and a triage technician in the triage area to care for the patients who are not truly in need of emergency services. Many people choose to walk into hospital EDs with minor injuries or ailments because they see it as the best option during the hours in which their primary care physician is too busy or unavailable.
During the peak hours, the RME team is hard at work. For example, a mother may show up with her son, who is complaining of an earache and a fever. "The physician at triage can do [his or her] triage assessment, look inside the ear, prescribe the medication, give the boy the discharge medication, and discharge the patient," says Leinen.
In the past, for example, a woman may have shown up complaining of dysuria. The patient would have to wait in the ER waiting area for a bed. When the bed became available-perhaps hours later-the patient would undergo tests and wait for those results. "It could take a long time," Leinen says. "Now we can effectively treat about 20 percent of the patients at the front door." In the event that a person arrives with a serious condition (e.g., a heart attack) he or she receives the same care as in the past, except the workup begins at the front door."
I'll be the first to say that I don't really care about "customer service" as long as the sick people are being seen and treated. I can be a "warm and fuzzy" nurse, but my first priority is not making sure Auntie is comfortable, it is making sure she isn't having an MI. But I am for anything that ensures beds will be available for the sick people, and this sounds pretty interesting. What bothers me is that the motivation here seems to be making the "convenience" patients happier (because they're the ones who have the CHOICE in which ED they come to) instead of decreasing overcrowding.
We've all had the patient come in after 2 weeks of a cough (suddenly can't handle it after 14 days and it is Sunday) who, as you're assessing her, nonchalantly asks when she'll be seen. She's only been signed in for 30 minutes, but "I really don't want to be here." No poop lady, neither does the unconscious intubated MVC, but he is, so sit down and wait your turn. And what about the people who come in for a nonemergent issue and try to choose their doc? FYI, if you've been here enough that you know our docs by name, then you can wait.
Going off on a tangent here.....I'm interested to see others' opinions on this issue.