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Busy ED flows around patients

Cambridge Health Alliance – a three-hospital system headquartered in Cambridge, MA – has re-engineered its emergency department services using a patient-centered care model that has led to increased efficiency, happier staff, and higher patient satisfaction scores.

The new model includes:

  • Patient partners – non-clinical staff who greet incoming patients, gather necessary information (name, date of birth or Social Security number, nature of emergency), and then take them immediately to either an assessment room or into the main ED for immediate care
  • Multiple triage nurses – instead of one nurse doing all triage, there are now multiple nurses who perform this function, as well as providing nursing assessments and initiation of care for those patients with less emergent conditions
  • Registration on the go – registration staff come to the patient’s room  and complete the registration process while the patient is being assessed and/or treated

The results speak for themselves:

  • For rapid assessment patients, the average length of stay has dropped from three hours to slightly more than one hour
  • 97 percent of patients are in a room within 5 minutes of entering the ED
  • 90 percent of patients are seen by a provider within 14 minutes of entering the ED

Dr. Sayah, ED director sums up his department’s paradigm shift: “The new culture is that the patient is in the room, and we are going to move around that patient.  The nurse will come in, the doctor will come in, the registration will come in, whereas before the patient was moving around us.”

Source: System-wide flow initiative slashes patient wait times in the ED, boosts volume by 25%.  ED Management.  24(6):61-64, June 2012.  Available for purchase from publisher’s website at http://www.newslettersonline.com/user/user.fas/s=6/fp=3/tp=3?T=open_article,50062141&P=article