Cutting ER Wait Times - Cutting ER Wait Times

Health System Management • December 2016

OPERATIONS HEALTH SYSTEM MANAGEMENT | DECEMBER | 2016 Demand for emergency healthcare is rapidly increasing, causing overcrowding and long wait times in emergency departments (ED) nationwide. Overcrowding in EDs creates access-to-care issues and leads to delays in urgent care, which are occurring far too frequently. In fact, according to the American Hospital Association, 47% of all U.S. hospitals report that their ED is at, or over, capacity. Patients on their way to the emergency room want their health crisis to be handled expeditiously. By using predictive modeling to develop more effective diversion policies, hospitals can reduce wait times for patients by up to 15%, improving care and customer satisfaction while saving time and money. THE ED SETTING Patients typically arrive to the ED via ambulance or as a walk-in. There has been a growing practice of encouraging new non-urgent, walk-in patients to go to their BY CARRI CHAN Carri Chan is the Sidney Taurel associate professor of business at Columbia Business School 25 WWW.HEALTHSYSTEMMGMT.COM Predictive Analytics: The Key to Cutting ER Wait Times Modeling strategy could reduce emergency room congestion by up to 15% primary care physician or an urgent care facility rather than wait to be treated in the ED. Ambulance patients can be directed from the ED via an ambulance diversion procedure. While many factors can impact a hospital’s decision to divert ambulances, or encourage non-urgent patients to receive care elsewhere, ED congestion is one of the main drivers determining ambulance diversion. Upon arrival to the ED, a patient is put through the triage process and assigned an emergency


Health System Management • December 2016
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