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Senior ED Program is a Winner By Almost Every Measure

Philip Betbeze, for HealthLeaders Media, November 15, 2013

Long-Term Value
But if you believe that moving from volume to value generally will pay benefits for your hospital or health system as healthcare reform matures, developing such a program seems like a no-brainer. The benefits to the patient are unquestionable, given Summa's results. For improving patient care and satisfaction, it's a clear win.

But first, let's take a look at the program itself and the findings of a two-month study. Scott Wilber, MD, medical director of senior emergency care and director of emergency medicine research at Summa, says the health system has been thinking about adding a senior track to its ED for years. The idea germinated from the health system's ACE (acute care for the elderly) unit, which started in the 1990's, when Wilber was a resident.

"About five years ago, we started talking about the idea of a geriatric ED," he says. By fall of 2012, coincident with an $85 million, system-wide ED renovation program, the geriatric ED was operational.

Study Results
And the results are promising. Based on a two-month study comparing January 23–March 23, 2013 with the same period a year prior, the program:

  • Significantly reduced admissions (4.3%)
  • Increased observation status (1.7%)
  • Increased discharge to home rates (2.4%)
  • Significantly increased patient satisfaction scores
  • Did not significantly increase ED revisits
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