Monday, February 8, 2010

Processes of a Highly Functioning Emergency Department

Continuing on with the theme of improving operations in your emergency department, I want to spend the next few posts discussing specific areas you can look at to move patients through your ED faster, with great outcomes and ultimately grow your business.

Most people will tell you that design of your ED is critical, and that the adage "form follows function" is especially applicable to the ED. While there is no argument that a well laid out ED is a great asset, good design alone will not ensure great quality outcomes. I was involved with an ED that was undersized and poorly laid out. This led to issues of overcrowding, lack of confidentiality and safety, and general inefficiency. Their logical answer was to build a new, larger, well designed department. Six months after opening, the problem of patient waits and low customer service scores persisted.

So if you have a well laid out and properly sized ED, that's a great start but not a complete answer. If you don't have the luxury of a well laid out department, there are still things you can do to improve operations. This is what I will discuss throughout the week.

The key is to have proper processes in place and to motivate the staff to follow them. This is not always easy to accomplish, but if you take a comprehensive and well laid out approach you can achieve substantial and sustainable results.

This week I will discuss specific areas you should be addressing, focusing on:
-Patient Throughput
-Staff Productivity
-Building New Business
As we go through these I will give actions steps and benchmarks that your ED should be achieving.

More on this later.

Mark Brodeur

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