4 Ways to Improve Patient Throughput in the ED

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Emergency department use is on the rise, making a hospital's ED one of its busiest departments. According to Joanne Fuell, manager of patient placement and central transport at Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Medical Center, one of the biggest challenges in a busy ED is moving patients in and out as quickly as possible. Inefficient patient throughput not only leads to fewer patients getting the care they need, but also results in a loss of revenue for the organization.

Lakeland Regional Medical Center made efficient patient throughput in the ED a strategic goal for the organization. Once it did this, there was significant improvement in work processes, according to Theresa Horne, associate vice president of clinical operations at LRMC.

Here are some of the changes that LRMC incorporated that helped improve patient flow, according to Ms. Fuell and Ms. Horne. 

1. Strategic priority. The biggest change we made to improve patient throughput was making it the no. 1 strategic priority of the organization as a whole, said Ms. Fuell. Set high goals with regard to patient throughput, and ensure that the goals are transparent and everyone in the organization understands them.

2. Leadership involvement. According to Ms. Fuell, involving the leadership and having their support are essential aspects of improving patient flow. C-suite executives should be involved in setting goals with regard to patient throughput and ensuring that they are met.
LRMC holds regular meetings with the staff to discuss current work processes and ways to improve throughput, says Ms. Fuell. Having the hospital's leadership present at meetings like these gives a big push to incorporating changes in work processes. 

3. Cultural change. To improve the flow of patients through the ED, an organization's culture needs to become patient-centric, says Ms. Horne. Overcrowding in the ED is not the responsibility of the ED alone — it is the responsibility of the entire organization. For example, the department that receives the patient after treatment in the ED should be prepared, allowing for a swift transfer. Every staff member is responsible for efficient patient throughput and should be held accountable, she says.

4. Data Analysis. "First, you have to have the right data and then you need to act on the data," says Ms. Horne. LRMC used data to prove and disprove all of its processes regarding patient throughput in the ED. Simply analyzing data isn't enough — data needs to drive change. Goals with regard to improving patient throughput should be derived from data, says Ms Fuell.

Once the organization incorporated the aforementioned changes, it became incredibly focused with regard to efficient patient throughput, says Ms. Fuell. Ultimately, efficiency in patient flow through the ED also improves the quality of care that patients receive, making it a goal worth striving for. 

More Articles on Patient Throughput:

6 Ways to Implement Pull Methodology for Patient Flow
Good Samaritan Hospital in Washington Reduces ED Throughput Time 28.5%
TeleTracking: Recording Milestones During Care Improves Patient Throughput


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4 Ways to Improve Patient Throughput in the ED

By Anuja Vaidya


Emergency department use is on the rise, making a hospital's ED one of its busiest departments. According to Joanne Fuell, manager of patient placement and central transport at Lakeland (Fla.) Regional Medical Center, one of the biggest challenges in a busy ED is moving patients in and out as quickly as possible. Inefficient patient throughput not only leads to fewer patients getting the care they need, but also results in a loss of revenue for the organization.


Lakeland Regional Medical Center made efficient patient throughput in the ED a strategic goal for the organization. Once it did this, there was significant improvement in work processes, according to Theresa Horne, associate vice president of clinical operations at LRMC.


Here are some of the changes that LRMC incorporated that helped improve patient flow, according to Ms. Fuell and Ms. Horne. 


1. Strategic priority. The biggest change we made to improve patient throughput was making it the no. 1 strategic priority of the organization as a whole, said Ms. Fuell. Set high goals with regard to patient throughput, and ensure that the goals are transparent and everyone in the organization understands them.


2. Leadership involvement. According to Ms. Fuell, involving the leadership and having their support are essential aspects of improving patient flow. C-suite executives should be involved in setting goals with regard to patient throughput and ensuring that they are met.

LRMC holds regular meetings, consisting of every staff member who handles a patient, to discuss current work processes and ways to improve throughput, says Ms. Fuell. Having the hospital's leadership present at meetings like these gives a big push to incorporating changes in work processes.  


3. Cultural change. To improve the flow of patients through the ED, an organization's culture needs to become patient-centric, says Ms. Horne. Overcrowding in the ED is not the responsibility of the ED alone — it is the responsibility of the entire organization. For example, the department that receives the patient after treatment in the ED should be prepared, allowing for a swift transfer. Every staff member is responsible for efficient patient throughput and should be held accountable, she says.


4. Data Analysis. "First, you have to have the right data and then you need to act on the data," says Ms. Horne. LRMC used data to prove and disprove all of its processes regarding patient throughput in the ED. Simply analyzing data isn't enough — data needs to drive change. Goals with regard to improving patient throughput should be derived from data, says Ms Fuell.


Once the organization incorporated the aforementioned changes, it became incredibly focused with regard to efficient patient throughput, says Ms. Fuell. Ultimately, efficiency in patient flow through the ED also improves the quality of care that patients receive, making it a goal worth striving for. 


More Articles on Patient Throughput:

6 Ways to Implement Pull Methodology for Patient Flow

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/capacity-management/6-ways-to-implement-pull-methodology-for-patient-flow.html

Good Samaritan Hospital in Washington Reduces ED Throughput Time 28.5%

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/capacity-management/good-samaritan-hospital-in-washington-reduces-ed-throughput-time-285.html

TeleTracking: Recording Milestones During Care Improves Patient Throughput

https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/capacity-management/teletracking-recording-milestones-during-care-improves-patient-throughput.html

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