Culture change and accountability.
Appropriate options for non-emergent patients.
New departmental roles and collaboration, laser- focused on improved emergency department wait times.
These are just some examples of the innovations that are driving reduced wait times in Maryland’s hospitals, and in turn directing patients to the right care, at the right time, in the right setting. At MHA’s ED Throughput Redesign Summit yesterday, speakers from Anne Arundel Medical Center, MedStar Health and the University of Maryland Medical Center shared these and other strategies with nearly 100 representatives from hospitals throughout the state.
Maryland’s emergency department wait times rank among the worst in the nation and are related to an increase in ED diversions over the past four years. While many factors contribute to this problem – the behavioral health crisis, Medicaid expansion, more comprehensive clinical screenings, a nursing shortage, and patients who don’t truly need emergency care – this is a concern that hospital leaders want to tackle head-on.
And now, along with the impact on patients and hospital staff, lengthy emergency department wait times carry financial consequences for hospitals, as the Health Services Cost Review Commission has incorporated ED wait time metrics into Maryland’s Quality-Based Reimbursement program.
To help hospitals reduce ED wait times, MHA has compiled several resources and best practices, along with data analyses of the root causes of delays. In addition, video from yesterday’s summit will be available in the coming weeks. Stay tuned for an announcement of how to access it.
Improving wait times, on a fundamental level, will take three things, according to yesterday’s presenters: the right culture, the right systems, and the right people. Over the past four years, as you’ve implemented massive care delivery changes, you’ve demonstrated that Maryland’s hospitals have each of these in abundance. That will be our collective strength as we work together to improve wait times.