Posted May 08, 2013

Emergency Department Industry Update: Is Your ED Ready to Survive the New Era?

By Stephanie Baker, R.N., MBA, CEN

"Every patient, every time" is a phrase you see and hear us use frequently in our work. We at Studer Group believe every patient deserves high quality emergency care during every encounter and we know you share this same goal. Regardless of the time of arrival or who they encounter, our patients rely on us to provide them with the best possible care. It’s one of the reasons we got into healthcare and specifically emergency medicine in the first place – we are passionate and committed to saving lives.

The number of patients visiting our emergency department each day is increasing by the minute. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the United States saw an increase in ED visits by 37% from 1995 to 2011. Over 124 million visits occurred in 2011 alone, translating to 222 visits per minute! Anywhere between 40 to 80 percent of our patients are admitted through the ED and that number will continue to increase by 5% every year for the next five years. Those are just some of the reasons we say the emergency department is the front door to the healthcare organization.

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have already started reporting data on emergency department throughput measures for 2013. This means our focus on emergency medicine and patient’s perception of care is more important than ever before. We also know that an ED CAHPS survey is on the horizon and is estimated to launch in 2nd quarter 2014.

There are some foundational Must Haves® that we recommend and have seen great success with organizations across the country. Rounding for Outcomes, Key Words at Key Times/AIDET®, and post-visit phone calls are just a few. It is when these Must Haves® are hardwired into our daily work that we begin to see even greater improvement in patient care and results.

The time to prepare for this new reality and get ahead of the curve is now. There are three recommended focus areas that can position your emergency department as a high performing and highly reliable place for patients to receive quality care.

  1. Set clear goals and measureable outcomes. Our evidence shows as hospital's ED percentile ranking increases, so does the HCAHPS "overall" percentile ranking. This proves that what gets measured and tracked also gets results.
  2. Fix your flow issues and improve efficiency. Efficient patient flow + foundational Must Haves® = High Performing Emergency Departments.
  3. Leverage your ED providers and staff. By implementing and hardwiring the foundational Must Haves®, everyone is held accountable to the same set of standards. When staff members share common goals, they are more likely to hold each other accountable for their actions.

Remember, "every patient, every time" begins with passionate, values-driven staff. Everyone must be on board and willing to focus on things like improving patient flow and consistently executing on foundational tactics. In the process, we can improve results and drive operational outcomes that impact the entire organization. And most importantly, we get to save lives and live out our mission to make a difference in healthcare. (Be sure to watch the video that accompanies this insight as we dive deeper into the metrics, provide updates on the ED CAHPS survey questions and show evidence that supports what we have discussed above).

Additional Resources:

  • Download the presentation slides.
  • Studer Group's specialized emergency department coaching allows partners to achieve wide-ranging results including lower "left without treatment" rates, reduced door to doctor time, fewer unplanned returns to ED within 48 hours, higher patient satisfaction, lower employee turnover, stronger physician collaboration and more. Learn more by clicking here.
  • Get emergency department results more efficiently, effectively and collaboratively by attending the Emergency Department Excellence tracks offered at Studer Conferences
  • To access tools and resources specifically for the Emergency Department, such as Leader Rounding on Patients and Staff Logs, visit our Learning Lab (these resources are exclusively available for Studer Group partners).


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