More than one-third of respondents (38%) coordinate with community social services to minimize avoidable ED visits. The ED staff at Penrose-St. Francis, which operates Penrose Hospital and St. Francis Medical Center with 522 licensed beds combined as well as four urgent care centers in the Colorado Springs area, holds quarterly meetings with a task force of community-based resources.
Says Cynthia Latney, PhDc, MSN, RN, NE-BC, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient care services, "There is a community task force consisting of agencies for mental health, substance abuse, and other community resources. We come together on a quarterly basis so our hospitals and community leaders can talk about how to share resources, how to communicate, and how to enhance transfer of patients."
When it comes to efficiency and patient flow, emergency departments will never lose their focus on the importance of transferring patients from the ED through admitting and onto an inpatient floor. But the attention that healthcare leaders are paying to care alternatives, case management, and care coordination indicates that ED decision-makers are examining the supply side of patient flow as well.
Michael Zeis is a research analyst for HealthLeaders Media.