Vice President of Clinical and Ancillary Services
Saint Clare’s Health System, Denville, NJ
Three-hospital Saint Clare's initiated the "Emergency Department 30 Minutes Door to Doctor Program" to address ED wait times by improving efficiency in other areas of the organization.
Flinn: The ED cannot be the holding area, so we launched an initiative to improve patient flow in the hospital. We wanted to create capacity by making sure our lab became efficient, that our x-ray department became efficient. I chair a daily meeting at noon to make sure we have throughput moving. Not only do I have all the clinical charge people, I have housekeeping, admitting, social work and emergency medical services on the phone so we can create a pull mechanism out of the ED.
More than 93% of ED patients see a physician within the 30-minute threshold. For those patients who wait longer than 30 minutes, I personally sign a letter of apology. I created a daily report card that goes to the medical director and the ED director that has changed the behavior by virtue of illustration. I have not gone to the ED doctors and told them, "You have to see patients in 30 minutes." I just show them this graph, and it tells them how they are performing compared with their peers. That alone has had the largest impact on driving times down.