To assess the benefit of a fast-track service in the emergency department of a large, high-volume veterinary hospital.
Prospective, observational, clinical study.
Emergency department of an urban, tertiary referral veterinary hospital.
All animals presented to the emergency department between April 1 and April 30 in 2017 and 2018 were eligible for inclusion. Only patients seen on days in 2017 corresponding to those days of 2018 during which the fast-track service was available were studied.
Measurement and Main Results
Triage case logs were collected and reviewed for April 2017 (prefast-track) and 2018 (fast-track). The fast-track service was launched as a pilot program in April 2018 to provide expedited care to low acuity patients presented to the emergency department. The median number of daily emergency department cases did not differ between 2017 (45, range 26-64) and 2018 (47, range 38-64; P = 0.3). The median time from presentation until first discussion with a doctor for low acuity cases was lower in April 2017 (29 min, range 1-163) than in April 2018 (24 min, range 1-100; P < 0.001). This reduction in wait time was observed despite a 40% increase in low acuity case presentations in 2018. Wait times for high acuity patients did not differ between study periods. The number of cases that left without being seen was higher in April 2017 compared to April 2018 (77 and 45 cases, respectively P < 0.001).
Implementation of a fast-track service reduced wait time for low acuity cases without adversely impacting wait times for sicker patients and led to a reduction in clients leaving without being seen. By introducing the fast-track service in a large volume veterinary hospital, limited resources can be distributed to improve speed of care, case flow, and client satisfaction in the emergency department.
Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care, EarlyView.Wiley: Journal of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care: Table of Contents