Hospital Efficiency Increases by Improving Emergency Department Design

Hospital Efficiency

Overall Better Patient Experiences and Satisfaction with Efficient ED Operations and Department Design

Department Design


Improving Emergency Department Design

Improving both throughput and the physical environment in the Emergency Department Design (ED) is a top priority for many hospital administrators and facility managers. The ED (on a hospital campus or free-standing) is often an initial access point into a system-of-care, the start of a hospital admission, and a significant touch-point for patient care.

In many master plan studies over the last several years, hospital leaders have identified improvements to their ED as a top priority.

Moving from volume to value-based care and reimbursement models requires a different approach to managing patient care and minimizing ED visits. With a population health-based approach, health systems can reduce the volume of ED patient visits overall. Other strategies to manage patient populations include up-right, fast-track areas; dedicated behavioral health beds; universal and standard care pods; and clinical decision units.

In order to improve overall flow, consider taking a lean approach to assessing processes from arrival to disposition and all steps in between. Consider ways to reduce waste throughout the entire patient care process then standardize processes and spaces to fit the best value-stream. Next, design spaces in a deliberate and standard way to best fit the ideal processes. Consider piloting these improvements in one zone of the ED as a living operational and physical mock-up, then make adjustments prior to implementing across the entire ED.

Finally, visualize and hear the ED environment through your patients’ eyes and ears. Patients’ and families’ stress levels are running high during a care episode (as are your staff’s during peak times). By ensuring privacy and dignity in a quiet, healing environment, you are sure to make the experience as pleasant as possible, improve overall patient care outcomes, ensure high satisfaction scores, and improve the overall patient experience.

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