The Emergency Department at Long Beach Medical Center opened its new Fast Track unit on Tuesday, March 15. The Fast Track unit, which sits adjacent to the emergency room, will allow patients with minor injuries or illnesses to be seen more quickly and efficiently. On average, it takes more than three hours to be treated within a general emergency room — the Fast Track Unit is hoping to cut that wait time down.

“Our goal in Fast Track is to treat patients within two hours, from the time they check-in to the moment they’re discharged,” says Juan Lopez, RN, assistant unit manager, emergency department, Long Beach Medical Center. “Patients will be seen faster than ever before.”

A large amount of hospitals do not have a dedicated clinic to treat those with less severe injuries and illnesses at a much faster pace. The Fast Track unit is looking to help alleviate the stresses that go on when entering an emergency room and create a friendly environment for individuals.

“I am very excited,” says Tom Pellenwessel, Long Beach Medical Center volunteer. “It is a 100 percent improvement.”

The Fast Track cost an estimated $2.5 million to build and features its own independent waiting room and a total of 10 beds.

“The Fast Track unit had been a project that Long Beach Medical Center had been working on for seven years,” says Robert Copenhaver, senior project manager, facility development, Long Beach Medical Center. “This will now replace the trailers we had outside of the emergency room.”

The unit sees patients as young as 3-months-old and well into adulthood that fit the Fast Track criteria, such as those with respiratory issues, eye problems, urinary tract infections, asthma, fever, dental pain, anxiety, rash, and chronic pain, amongst others.

“I do think it is going to be one of the most efficient places in the hospital,” Lopez adds. “The Fast Track unit will be seeing individuals that have poked their eye, need some sutures, have slight chest pain and all kinds of other incidents. It will make a huge difference for the patient experience.”