In some cases, Providence is trying to go further. "The ED affects all aspects of the hospital," says Kim Bullock, MD, an emergency department physician at Providence Hospital who has participated in meetings with other doctors and hospital officials to improve the ED. Bullock is also director of community health and assistant director of service learning in the department of family medicine at nearby Georgetown University Medical Center.
"All (hospital) services were eventually included in the discussions. And it involved everyone from the CEO to housekeeping, from admittance staff to environmental services. Everyone has a stake in the game, in order to get sustained solutions."
Specifically, the meetings focused on "procedural improvement and interdepartmental cooperation in improving ED efficiency, patient transfers, and ancillary services support," Bullock adds. They talked about doing a better job communicating at the bedside when there is an admission to an available room; they talked about coordinating plans with housekeeping to move things along quicker. They talked about the importance of improving physician and nurse communication in the ED. All told, Bullock says the discussion focused on 64 planning points.
To deal with patient safety and other concerns, Providence appointed a "throughput task force," which included physicians and administrators, to evaluate methods to improve the ED, she says. While there is often talk in healthcare about "physician champions," Providence selected one strictly for the ED.