Providers Call for Standardized ED Metrics

John Commins, July 14, 2011

In an effort to reduce emergency department crowding, nine associations representing ED healthcare providers have signed a consensus statement that proposes standardized definitions for six common ED metrics.

Under the consensus statement, for example, an emergency department is defined as "a dedicated location serving an unscheduled patient population requesting emergency assessment," and triage time is defined as "the time that rapid or comprehensive triage is initiated by a registered nurse or institutionally credentialed provider."

AnnMarie Papa, RN, president of the Emergency Nurses Association, said that a standard set of metrics are needed to get everyone on the same page when looking for solutions to the nation's worsening ED crowding issue.  

"Addressing it is one of ENA's top clinical priorities, but we can't solve a problem if we can't agree on how to quantify it," Papa said in a media release. "This consensus statement is a first and important step in reducing crowding and boarding in emergency rooms and helping us provide better and faster care to our patients."

Wait times in emergency departments are surging. The practice of boarding is a symptom of gridlock and prompts patients to leave the hospital without proper care.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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