A hospital’s emergency department exists for the sole reason of providing immediate care to patients, responding to, and prioritizing emergency healthcare cases arriving at the hospital. However, many ERs worldwide are stretched to the limit with growing demands and limited staff. That said, healthcare leaders need to make the right decisions and utilize technology to their advantage to make care delivery a lot simpler and faster for overworked staff.
According to estimates by the CDC, around 130.4 million patients visit emergency departments in America every year. However, the reality is that these ERs are not equipped to cater to such high volumes of patient inflow because of either limited resources, low staff numbers, operational inefficiencies, or a combination of the three. So how do you make the ER more efficient? If you’re a healthcare leader, manager, or practitioner seeking some smart tips, we’ve got you covered down below.
Train your emergency department staff
It is the role of emergency department staff to try and quickly address patients according to the severity of their injuries and illnesses. So, all emergency department personnel, from nurses to doctors to aides, should have the necessary skills and know-how to perform their jobs with the utmost efficiency. However, education alone might not be enough to address patients’ medical needs. Every hospital’s ER does things differently. So, that is why ongoing training is a must to prevent operational inefficiencies from occurring.
So, whether you decide to provide your staff with accredited EMT or BLS through finance their higher education, ongoing training can lead to reduced negligence and improved operational flow.
Provide emergency staff with handheld EMRs
Doctors, nurses, other healthcare staff use their smartphones extensively to communicate with other healthcare personal. However, because of the data security and the unavailability of full patient context, these communication efforts are cumbersome and error-prone. For example, whenever someone receives a notification about a severe patient entering the emergency room, healthcare workers have to rush to find a computer, punch in their credentials, and navigate to patient records for patient histories. Emergency department staff, wherever they are, require full access to patient records, including past medical notes and test results, at all times.
However, by providing doctors, nurses, and other staff with handheld EMRS, you allow them to move around freely and refer to notes, test results, patient histories, and additional supporting information without needing a computer on wheels or a shared workstation. Furthermore, this also leads to better healthcare worker-patient communication. Moreover, medical staff can gain insight into relevant past admission histories when a particular patient rolls into the ED. For instance, the Miya Memory app is perfect for helping doctors easily monitor patients from their own mobile devices while moving around freely throughout the entire hospital.
Decrease cognitive load with the help of CDS (clinical decision support)
Nurses, doctors, and other ER staff have an immense cognitive load to track and monitor patient activity. However, CDS systems provide these professionals with the tools they need to reduce distractions while providing quality emergency care. For instance, the Miya Logic clinical decision support system makes emergency staff’s life a lot easier by utilizing existing EMR systems’ information for better decision-making.
Furthermore, it provides emergency staff with helpful information about medical conditions, harmful drug interactions, and other healthcare issues for the patient admitted into the ER. It also offers them the mechanisms needed to maintain compliance with hospital policies and best practices. In addition, some CDS systems are customizable and provide hospital emergency department staff with the tools necessary to make ongoing improvements, improving operational efficiencies in the process.
Provide a real-time clinical infrastructure
There are various methods and ways to provide performance dashboards and operational reports to hospital owners and healthcare leaders. Such information gives them valuable insight into how well their hospital performs day in and day out, particularly the emergency staff. Unfortunately, these insights are often available too late for the emergency staff to respond efficiently and effectively.
Real-time data is crucial to take action or intercept medical or operational issues whenever they arise. So, without the availability of an improved back-end clinical infrastructure, it is challenging to gain access to insights related to real-time events occurring inside the hospital, especially in the emergency department. Here, incorporating technologies that provide real-time updates of patients’ beds, medication, and other treatments will allow emergency staff to intercept medical issues and take swift action to ensure the patient remains as safe as possible during their stay.
Smooth outpatient processing with parallel processing
Medical emergencies are unpredictable, and ER staff needs to be on their toes to provide care at all times. Therefore, incorporating an open-door policy will result in patients with various medical issues visiting your ER. Typically, these patients can be split into three categories; those won don’t require emergency care, those who believe they are experiencing an emergency, and those who need immediate attention.
Usually, the ER staff is notified of new patients entering via linear processing. As a result, the patient is passed along a long chain of command, starting from the hospital’s registration desk to the triage nurses to the primary physician before being checked by a doctor. However, a more efficient way is to utilize parallel processing, consolidating or eliminating this long chain to decrease door-to-doctor wait times. Here, patients will undergo a quick registration process where the staff will check them to determine whether particular patients require immediate care or not. Moreover, patients’ medical complaints and personal details will be entered and made ready for the doctor during this process. Such a method will drastically reduce wait times and lead to swift care being administered to patients while improving operational efficiencies in the process.
Improved clinical safety and better care don’t have to be at the expense of efficiency. In fact, by utilizing the ways mentioned above, you will put your emergency staff at ease and give them the tools they so direly lack. That said, technology is the missing layer of an innovative, real-time emergency department infrastructure. So, it is your duty as a healthcare leader/manager to ensure that your emergency department staff are well-trained and equipped with the latest tech to tackle patient emergencies and address their medical needs quickly!