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Patient Experience Case Study - CentraState Medical Center
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Improving Patient Throughput in the ED

What was the challenge, opportunity or issue faced?

As all hospitals are challenged with throughput, CentraState’s challenge was greater due to the high number of ED visits versus our inpatient beds. Although we had worked on throughput for years, we decided to appoint a new throughput capacity supervisor who was not clinical but instead had a very strong background in data. We hoped that by using data and providing transparency on throughput, would be able to improve our issues.

What did you do to address it?

The supervisor, with administrator support, developed alliances with each ancillary department and each nursing unit. The biggest challenge was to establish trust and build communication. With the support of our ED tracking system, reports were developed that demonstrated what opportunities needed to be addressed.

A new steering committee consisting of administrative decision makers was formed, and various sub-committees were developed to look at the identified opportunities, including discharge time, blocked beds, peak flow times and staffing. Sub-committees were held accountable to the large steering committee and with COO and CFO support, change and action was expected. Throughput rounds were completed twice a day, bed meetings were reestablished twice a day seven days a week. All initiatives were supported by data and a total dashboard for accountability.

What were the outcomes?

While our throughput scores are coming down slowly, we have seen our ED patient satisfaction scores rise dramatically, showing statistical significance. Our hospital has not been on diversion since this project started and we have had less than 5% of days with holding patients in the ED. While we are working aggressively on throughput, we have seen a wonderful increase in our ED patient satisfaction scores. Our patients are getting through the ED quicker; the focus on communication has facilitated an increase in our communication scores, along with other benefits.

About CentraState Medical Center

Part of the CentraState Healthcare System, CentraState Medical Center is an acute-care medical center licensed for 284 beds with 65,000 ED visits. The medical center is a teaching hospital in conjunction with the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Family Medicine Residency Program. Also in 2015, the hospital was re-designated with Magnet status for nursing excellence by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) of the American Nurses Association.

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