Moon Township, PA, (January 24, 2011)
–The Patricia S. Snyder Emergency Department at Heritage Valley Sewickley recently received a QualityBLUESM
Award from Highmark for operational improvements in Emergency Department Throughput. The award was presented for greatest percentage change, a 92% decrease in patents that “left without being seen;” a 19% reduction in emergency department arrival to admission or discharge time; and 50% reduction in the door to physician time.
Heritage Valley Sewickley’s project was recognized as most improved among 31 other facilities participating in projects to address Emergency Department Throughput. While data that helped garner the award was collected from July 2009 to June 2010, interdepartmental teams have been meeting and developing new processes for many years.
“Our success is really due to many factors including changes in technology, staffing and operational process,” said Dr. Thomas Pangburn, system medical director, Heritage Valley Emergency Services.
The recently expanded and renovated emergency department provides clinicians with convenient access to Heritage Valley’s award winning electronic health record system both at the bedside and through wireless communication platforms. Other technology enhancements include check-in kiosks for immediate patient registration, a modified electronic patient tracking system and patient activity and volume monitoring on LCD displays and the Heritage Valley website.
“We really engaged staff in the process of change so that the emergency department could be more efficient,” said Linda Homyk, vice president, patient care services at Heritage Valley Sewickley. “All staff members are aware of quality, safety and patient satisfaction goals. To meet those goals, we added greeters to assist patients as they enter the emergency room and dedicated triage nurses to quickly assess the condition of the patient.”
Operational processes utilized in the emergency department also changed. For example, physician-approved protocols were developed and implemented. And, methods to more efficiently work with other departments resulted in a reduction of Laboratory and Radiology turnaround times.
“While the recognition from Highmark is an honor, we are also proud that the Heritage Valley Sewickley emergency department has patient satisfaction scores in the 98% percentile for the nation in December 2010,” added Dr. Pangburn. “This indicates to us that the patients are pleased as well.”