Increasing ED Throughput Requires Hospital Wide Effort

04 Jun 2012

Many Increasing Throughput hospitals have learned that solving the problem of emergency department (ED) crowding requires getting the entire hospital involved. 

Mount Clemens Hospital, a non-profit suburban hospital in Mount Clemens, MI, that sees about 56,000 ED patients each year, decided to tackle crowding head-on by challenging its principal driver: boarding. Boarding patients is a coping mechanism EDs use when beds are not available in inpatient units, but it can lead to delays in necessary treatment as well as patients leaving without being seen. 

The team at Mount Clemens developed a strategy of making inpatient beds available earlier in the day by enhancing communication among inpatient units, the ED, environmental services (EVS), bed placement coordinators, and management.

The strategy is anchored in four daily staffing meetings that focus on real-time unit admitting capabilities, EVS capacity, and special patient needs. One measure implemented is the bed capacity alert notifying physicians, nursing, and other ancillary departments that the hospital is at capacity and to expedite discharge process.

By creating closer coordination across multiple departments, the strategy has proved effective and has allowed the staff to track capacity closely and facilitate pending inpatient discharge and clean bed availability.