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Simple Changes for Emergency Department Success

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   May 27, 2015

Improving patient flow through a busy emergency department does not have to be as expensive or as complicated as the cases that come through the door.

This article first appeared in the May 2015 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The effective and efficient triage of patients is key to the flow of an emergency department. Not only for practical reasons but also because a new survey measuring patient satisfaction in the ED is on the horizon. ED-CAHPS—similar to HCAHPS, the survey that allows patients postdischarge to rate hospitals on communication, noise level, and other factors—is in development now.

Providers originally expected the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to begin using ED-CAHPS this year, but delays have pushed it back to 2016. Still, hospitals and health systems that have made patient experience a priority are not holding back on preparing for ED-CAHPS.

But surveys are not the only driver, nor even the main driver, of organizations' repeated attempts to reorganize processes for better throughput. When EDs are crowded with patients who can be treated elsewhere, it prevents patients with acute needs from being seen quickly, which can impact cost and quality.

Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.

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