Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Key Role of Your Hospital's ED

Continuing the theme of quality first and finances follow, I want to begin discussing the areas you should focus on in your hospital to improve the quality image within your community. Keep in mind that customer service also falls within this category of quality. This is a very important and sometimes overlooked aspect of all services a hospital provides.

The first area I want to look at is the Emergency Department. After all this is truly the front door of the hospital. More members of your community interact with your ED than any other treatment modality offered by your hospital. This is an area where opinions are formed about the clinical capabilities of all the hospital's services even though most have no connection to the ED patient. Even if the patient is in the ED for minor, non-life threatening issues, the assumption will be drawn that "if they can't handle this in a quick and efficient manner, what would happen if I had something serious?".

To address this you must make the ED a priority. Have a fast track so that the patients that are triaged as the least critical get seen and treated as quickly as the trauma cases. Also be attentive to your patients concerns. The old days of having an ED nurse with the attitude "I'm here to save your behind not kiss it" are gone. Patients expect care to be effective, quick and compassionate. If you are not currently tracking customer service scores in your ED you must start. If you are already tracking them, they should be in the top quartile of all hospitals. Remember, if you are not in the top quartile, your competition probably is.

Making your ED a top performer is not necessarily an easy proposition. But there are specific areas to look at for improvement. In upcoming blogs I will discuss these area and provide benchmarks that your ED should be achieving.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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