Patient Satisfaction on the Rise
A rapidly growing 209-bed not-for-profit medical center in the Northeast was experiencing low satisfaction scores in their emergency department. The Level II Trauma Center saw 46,000 ED visits per year and was in the process of renovating and expanding their current space. They wanted to make changes now in the delivery of care that would affect patient satisfaction and be appropriate for the transition into the new department.
To understand the customer's concerns we conducted an in-depth assessment of the department that included multiple interviews with departments outside of the ED, observation of patient flow processes and review of data related to these processes. Based on our findings, we determined two areas requiring focused change: triage and patient flow. After working day to day with the Emergency Department medical and nursing staff, performance targets were established and practice changes were implemented resulting in higher patient satisfaction scores, a timelier triage process and decreased lengths of stay for the non-urgent patients. The following processes were implemented:
- 5-Level Triage
- Immediate bedding
- Use of a Physician Assistant in an area of the department that was designated for non-urgent patients
- Staffing plan that shifted nursing hours to better match patient demands.
Because of the changes, the department saw a marked improvement in patient satisfaction scores, a lower left before treatment rate and a shorter length of stay for discharged patients. Financially, the department realized over $408,000 in annual savings.