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Challenging Physicians to Help Improve the ED

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media, May 24, 2012

Hospitals also must work "externally" to improve the EDs, she says. "Cross dialogue between hospitals would advance collaboration and problem solving in these and other areas; however this has not been explored because most institutions work in silos."

"As hospital leaders evaluate [a hospital’s] throughput agenda, they must not only evaluate crisis situations, but the continuum of care that begins in the ED," Bullock adds. 

She is hopeful in the process that Providence officials have initiated. "The fact that a community hospital has taken such an interest in improving the ED services means that upper level administration ‘gets it’ in terms of the importance of the service delivery in the ED. There is a bottom fiscal line here, which many hospitals recognize but still do not prioritize in the way that they should," Bullock says.

Physician involvement is crucial to transform any ED, but the responsibility rests not only with those who work there, Bullock emphasizes. Surgeons, specialists and primary care physicians assigned elsewhere in a hospital must play a role. ED delays, patient satisfaction, and performance measures are all tied together,

"Attitudes must change generally. That's not just an ED problem mentality, but a hospital problem," Bullock adds. "And unless everyone becomes involved, everyone loses."


Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.
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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.