Fast Track: urgent care within a teaching hospital emergency department: can it work?

Ann Emerg Med. 1988 May;17(5):453-6. doi: 10.1016/s0196-0644(88)80235-x.


We performed a ten-week study to understand the feasibility of a fast track system within a teaching hospital setting. Our results show that 50% or fewer of patients entering an emergency department during evening and weekend day hours can be seen in Fast Track. Average turnaround time for all patients in the ED was 161 minutes. The average for all Fast Track patients was 94.5 minutes; if laboratory and/or radiographs were ordered the average was 121.5 minutes; with no laboratory/radiographs, 79.1 minutes. Urinalysis, strep screen, and complete blood count accounted for 80% of all laboratory work. Roentgenograms of the ankle, foot, and knee accounted for 80% of all radiographs. An evaluation questionnaire showed enhanced satisfaction with a reduction in the number of complaints from 79% to 22%. The Fast Track system failed when there was a predominance of acutely ill patients in the ED, as house officers were pulled to care for the acutely ill patients.

MeSH terms

  • Arizona
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Time Factors