RAVENNA — The $2.1 million renovation of the emergency department at University Hospitals Portage Medical Center in Ravenna will help get patients in and out more quickly than in the past

Ceremonially unveiled Friday, the renovation — coupled with a change in workflow among emergency department personnel — will mean shorter waits in the ER, said A.J. Smiley, nurse manager in the department.

“At 11 at night before, we still would have a full waiting room,” he said. “There’s a better flow now. We don’t keep patients here for four, five, six hours.”

Those shorter waits apply to patients with relatively modest problems. He said each patient who enters the emergency department goes quickly through triage, where they are assigned a number, one through five, with ones being the cases demanding immediate attention, and fives being the least dire.

“In the old model, everybody went back to a room,” Smiley said. “If sicker patients keep coming in, the ones who got there first have to wait. If we can see them right off the bat as they come through the door and determine what level they are, we can start treatments.”

Other features of the renovation include a new welcome desk, triage area, mid-level provider work area, a pediatric waiting room, results pending waiting area, new EKG and phlebotomy testing area, as well as a patient consulting room.