Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence continues to see a rising number of emergency patients. This week, it opened its ER Fast Track with aims that include more patient privacy and quicker care.

About 185 people a day come to the Centerpoint’s ER, and slightly more than one in five are admitted to the hospital. Most are treated and sent home.

Now a patient will be handed a checklist card from screening exam to blood work to discharge and is moved into a room with a nurse practitioner or physician’s assistant who stays with the patient throughout his time in the ER.

The goal is for a patient to see a physician within 10 minutes of arrival. On average, patients who qualify for the rapid-care approach will be discharged within 90 minutes of arrival.

“Our staff helped design this,” said Robyn Miller, the ER director.

In addition, there are six private rooms for patients with other specific needs, such as one who is vomiting or one who is suffering through a migraine and needs a quiet, dark space. There are set-aside areas for intake issues such as insurance, and areas for EKGs and testing blood and urine. About four patients out of five will need some testing like that.

More and more hospitals are trying this approach.

“This is a trend nationwide,” Miller said.

The ER accounts for a large part of the hospital’s patient load.

“That truly is our front door, our ER,” Centerpoint CEO David Williams said.

The hospital is in the midst of a large expansion overall. One floor is being added on the south tower, with 12 intensive-care beds and in-patient rehab. That opens in the spring.

Two floors are being added on the north tower, one to add 36 beds and one for future growth.