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Challenging Physicians to Help Improve the ED

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, May 24, 2012

Amid those glum prognostications, many health systems are moving forward to make the ED better. Indeed, an overwhelming share of hospital leaders— 95%—say they have current or ongoing efforts to improve throughput in the ED.

And this is where physicians can step up their involvement to make the ED better, even if they work nowhere near it, because it is the gateway to the hospital.

A collaborative effort to improve the ED involving physicians and administration is occurring at Providence Hospital in Washington D.C., where hospital leaders have laid out dozens of plans with hopes of invigorating the inner city hospital’s ED. Some proposed improvements are similar to those enacted by other health systems, as reflected by those who answered the survey.

Among the most effective techniques cited for increasing ED efficiency:

  • Fast-track area for less severe illnesses or injuries—65%
  • A triage medical evaluation process—56%
  • Coordination with inpatient floor nurses—55%
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2 comments on "Challenging Physicians to Help Improve the ED"


stefani daniels (5/25/2012 at 9:31 AM)
Based on research in the literatures, most ED waiting rooms are filled with people that do not require ED resources. So why aren't hospital execs doing more to remedy? It seems that 56% of your respondents are by implementing medical triage. Once the EMTALA standard is met, the patient should be referred to primary care services....or would that be competition to the community physicians?

Angelo Falcone (5/25/2012 at 6:38 AM)
Interesting article. In our experience flow problems in the ED can be attributed to 1/3 front end and 2/3 back end issues. While the ED itself can (and should) fix the front end through process changes such as straight backs and more efficient departmental processing such as rapid evaluation areas and discharge lounges the bottleneck at the back end is the major rate limiting step. Hospitals that have fixed that problem only do so when senior hospital leadership make it a priority. Otherwise it is lip service.