The W.M. Keck Foundation has given IMQ a generous grant to help three Los Angeles area hospitals with busy emergency departments adopt one or more of three recognized best practices to reduce emergency department wait times and improve the quality of care.
The 2013 documentary Code Black increased public awareness of the long wait times and overcrowding which plague many hospital emergency departments. Overcrowding results in poor quality care and adverse outcomes for patients, as well as higher cost for hospitals and the health care system as a whole. This project provides the analytics support and guidance required to help three hospitals continue to reduce emergency department (ED) wait times while improving the quality of care and patient outcomes. Each hospital will choose from one or more of three high impact best practices identified by American College of Emergency Physicians as high impact solutions to ED overcrowding: increasing the number of hospital discharges by 11 AM, smoothing the distribution of elective surgeries and other procedures, and/or implementing an ED crowding plan that triggers interventions before the ED experiences a Code Black. The project will demonstrate the effectiveness of an integrated systems approach to performance improvement. The goal is to define a replicable process for reducing ED wait times that can be generalized to other hospitals that provide ED services. The final report and case studies of the three hospital programs will be published, and senior executive teams of the 77 Los Angeles hospitals that provide ED services will be invited to a symposium where we will present the study and its findings.