ED Safety Initiative Scrutinizes Quality of Care

Margaret Dick Tocknell, April 15, 2011

There is room for improvement in the nation's emergency departments, where 10 percent of all ambulatory care in the U.S is administered. The Premier Healthcare Alliance has announced a plan to identify where and how improvements can be made. 

A two-year collaborative between Premier and emergency departments at 14 hospitals aims to reduce clinical practice variation, improve care quality, increase patient satisfaction, and improve patient outcomes.

The Emergency Department Safety Initiative focuses on improving patient care and satisfaction in the ED through consistent, accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment of high-risk ED patients.  Topics covered include best practices in the ED, and promoting effective teamwork and communication in the ED.

Premier teams have made on-site assessments at each hospital, said Dan Fineran, assistant vice president of operations and quality at Premier in an interview. "We are looking at all aspects of the emergency department and speaking with physicians, nurses, and patients to get an idea of how the ED operates in a particular hospital.”

The primary focus is to identify areas where there might be room for improvement, provide follow-up support, and to communicate best practices to each participating ED. Among the targets is to improve patient safety metrics to the 90th percentile.

The 14 participating hospitals represent more than 730,000 annual ED visits. The EDSI will initially target patients presenting in EDs with chest and abdominal pain, two of the most difficult and nonspecific diagnoses. These conditions are most commonly associated with more severe outcomes such as heart attacks, appendicitis, meningitis, and pancreatitis.

Margaret Dick Tocknell Margaret Dick Tocknell is a reporter/editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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