Performance analytics can reduce the number of patients who leave against medical advice.
In California, the rate of Emergency Department patients leaving against medical advice (AMA) is growing, and overcrowding is being blamed. What steps can be taken to reduce ED crowding and increase patient safety?
The Numbers Are Telling
According to a recent Kaiser Health News piece, which looked at data from the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, visits to the state’s EDs grew by almost 20%, or 2.4 million, from 2012 to 2017. Meanwhile, wait times also increased by 15 minutes, which makes California’s wait times 80 minutes longer than the national average. About 352,000 of the state’s ER visits in 2017 ended when patients left before medical care was complete, up by 57% from 2012.
In addition, another 322,000 would-be patients left the emergency room without seeing a doctor, up from 315,000 occurrences in 2012.
ED overcrowding, and the consequent extended wait times in particular, are most likely to blame. More than 90 percent of EDs in the United States report crowded conditions on a routine basis. Long wait times may make it hard to defend against malpractice lawsuits involving patients whose condition may have worsened because of delayed care. Prolonged wait times also are tied to low patient satisfaction scores and negative online reviews. All this can damage an ED’s reputation and impact its bottom line.
What can be done to reduce the incidence of patients who leave against medical advice? Effective strategies include monitoring patients once they are admitted to the ED, providing updates on their plan of care, and reassessing their condition post-triage.
Purpose-Built Performance Analytics Provide a Deeper Look
When you can’t increase your treatment spaces and staffing, or control the number of patients coming through your doors, simply reporting your performance isn’t enough. If you want to identify bottlenecks and implement solutions to address contributing issues, you need the right tools, ones that can help you improve your processes and allocate existing resources to better handle your patient flow.
d2i’s Performance Analytics Application is a robust platform that allows you to drill deeper into data to help identify and measure the severity of ED crowding while monitoring the effectiveness of efforts to eliminate it. Our tools can identify bottlenecks and provide the detailed information needed to tailor solutions to problems rather than just chase symptoms.
For instance, our Census and Arrivals report provides an hourly average census grouped by acuity level, area of the ED, and status of service. Comparing this to the number of available treatment spaces allows you to assess total hours over capacity, the percent of hours above capacity, and more.
Are you looking for a way to reduce crowding and increase performance in your ED? See why no other healthcare business intelligence tool or EHR system even comes close. Contact us for more information about our analytics tools, or to schedule a 30-minute demo.