Evaluation of a Department of Emergency Medicine
The Emergency Department of a suburban community hospital suffered several sentinel events; preventable deaths. These drew attention to multiple problems such as a frequent need to divert ambulance cases to other hospitals, prolonged lengths of stay, difficult relations with related hospital departments, diagnostic test result delays and financial loss.
AMF experts reviewed the sentinel events as well as emergency department operational data and organization. They interviewed representatives of all the services interacting with the emergency department and did extensive on-site observation. The reviewers recommended a number of process improvements including better visibility of patients in the waiting area, redesign of the triage area, improved participation in risk management, changes in physician staffing patterns and responsibilities, and a more accurate and comprehensive billing system. The solution was “hands on” leadership.