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Three Strategies for Improving ED Flow, Crowding

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Crowding of the emergency department can often adversely affect health outcomes for patients and even contribute to patient readmissions.”

Larry Faulkner, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN

Senior Consultant

As published by Managed Healthcare Executive  (January 26, 2020)

 

Emergency Departments (ED) across the U.S. are burdened by crowding conditions on a daily basis. Many departments are experiencing unusually high growth in volume each year, compounded by unwavering ripple effects of hospital closures nationwide. Crowding of the emergency department can often adversely affect health outcomes for patients and even contribute to patient readmissions, creating a vicious cycle for an already troubling crowding problem. This has made it that much more imperative that hospitals identify solutions to ease crowding in their emergency departments. 

 

Hospital leadership should consider three strategies for addressing this issue in their emergency departments head on:

 

Reevaluate front-end processes to provide patients timely care

 

Many facilities continue to triage patients upon arrival, even though beds are open and available in the department. If a bed is available, the triage process should no longer be necessary. Patients should be immediately bedded so they can be cared for more quickly and expedite their stay. 

 

Hospitals should also more critically evaluate their process or policy for holding beds open for critical patients. While these patients do need more immediate care, emergency department leadership should evaluate the Emergency Severity Index (ESI) data to determine the number of ESI level-1 patients moving through the department on a daily basis. They can then use this data to determine if it is justified to leave a bed open 24 hours a day or more efficient to use the bed and move a patient out of a room when a critical patient is en route.

 

Read the full article at Team-Based Three Strategies for Improving Emergency Department Flow, Crowding

About the author

Larry Faulkner

Larry Faulkner, MBA, BSN, RN, CEN, NEA-BC

Senior Consultant

Larry brings years of experience providing clinical and leadership expertise in the emergency care setting. He has implemented evidence-based leadership tactics to improve ED performance. He is an active member of ENA, AACN, and ACHE.