"We have 34 beds. If we stayed with the old process, I'd have one bed per patient and that doesn't work when you need to see 94,000 patients a year. We were able to increase our productivity, decrease our risk, and decrease our costs," she says. "Plus everyone was happier: the patients, the physicians, and the nurses."
Banner Estrella has come a long way from the 6-8–hour wait times in 2004. Now on the ED's worst day, the average wait time is 36 minutes. Overall patient satisfaction scores for the ED average 86%. And the department has won national awards for quality care for three years in a row.
Plus, the split flow model has a quick financial ROI. "Initially, doing this required a few more resources for redesign and staff, because we had to create separate areas for intake, quick look, and continuing care. But we gained better throughput, patient satisfaction and safety," Johnson-Kelley says. "This gave us the ability to bed acute care patients immediately and that far exceeds any amount we spent.,"
Editor's note: For more on the split flow model, check out the HealthLeaders Media webcast Lower Costs, Better Productivity in Your Emergency Department, in which Johnson-Kelley and other ED innovators will answer subscriber questions on how to turn around ED operations.