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Hospital leaders and staff will have a chance to tour BWH’s newly redesigned Emergency Department during a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 5. At left and center, views of the new pod; At right, Joshua Kosowsky, MD, during a recent walkthrough of the site.
In the next few months, patients visiting the Emergency Department at BWH will have a different experience than they are accustomed to, thanks to an initiative that has revamped the way emergency care is delivered at the hospital.
“We had the opportunity to get a little bit bigger, but we realized that just getting bigger and continuing to do things the way we have been doing them wasn’t going to work,” said Ron Walls, MD, chair of Emergency Medicine. “We really had to think through our entire process of care, from the moment patients arrive until the moment they leave the hospital or are admitted to an inpatient floor.”
While Emergency Medicine at BWH is currently undergoing a physical expansion, the care model has been transforming over the past two years in ways that are equally important to the patient experience. With the most recent series of improvements, the front-end process has become more streamlined and more patient-centered, minimizing wait time whenever possible and eliminating redundant steps—such as having to tell multiple providers the same information over and over.
In the past, and as remains the case in many Emergency Departments across the country, patients would be fully registered and “triaged” before being allowed in to see a provider. It was not uncommon for a patient to wait half a dozen different times at various steps along this process.
Now, patients arriving at BWH’s Emergency Department are greeted by a nurse, quickly checked in and brought directly to the patient care area, as long as space is available; the new model redeploys the Emergency Department’s staffing and space to better match patient volume and acuity.
“We began implementing this new process in recent months, but the background work started almost two years ago. We received input from patients and frontline staff, who have participated in repeated simulations to test out the new process,” said Heidi Crim, RN, nursing director, Emergency Department.
And while it’s only been a few months, the new process has already yielded positive results. Overall length of stay at the Emergency Department has been reduced by almost an hour. The walkout rate—the number of patients who leave the Emergency Department before receiving treatment—has dropped by more than 30 percent, and patient satisfaction scores have reached new heights.
The process continues to evolve. A new pod, or patient care area, is set to open next month, with testing and implementation of new processes continuing through the spring and summer. Hospital leaders and staff will have a chance to tour the new pod after a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 5.
“It’s going to be an exciting next six months, but it’s not going to end there,” said Josh Kosowsky, MD, clinical director, Emergency Medicine. “We are committed to change, not just for change’s sake, but because we believe that patients deserve the best.”
Kosowsky and Crim presented “Transforming the ED Patient Experience: Building in Change” during this week’s Quality Rounds. Watch the video BWHPikeNotes.org