Publication | Advanced Emergency Nursing Journal 43:1

A Systems Approach to Front-End Redesign with Rapid Triage Implementation

Nicholas Chmielewski, Theresa Tomkin, and Gara Edelstein

January/March 2021

The most common site for hospital sentinel events due to care delays, secondary to waiting and/or inefficient processes, occurs in the emergency department (ED). Decreasing patient length of stay in an ED is a key initiative for many hospitals in order to maximize both quality and efficiency. The purpose of this practice improvement project was to (1) standardize front-end processes across a 6-hospital health system, (2) move non-sorting-related clinical questions out of triage, and (3) improve door-to-triage and door-to-provider times. The project occurred within a 6-hospital East Coast health system. This was a continuous quality improvement initiative utilizing the Donabedian theoretical model, plus the DMAIC method, for process improvement. A system-wide performance work team was formed including ED leaders and staff; site-specific implementation teams were also formed. Rapid triage implementation was effective in producing statistically significant improvement in door-to-triage, door-to-provider, and ED length of stay for discharged patients at 3 of the 6 sites. Further performance improvement projects in this area are needed to better understand the generalizability of this process in other EDs. Furthermore, from a leadership perspective, additional investigation is needed into the cost savings as well as shared labor opportunities that may exist when policies and processes are standardized across a system’s service line.

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  • Nicholas Chmielewski, DNP, RN, CEN, CENP, NEA-BC, FAEN
    BRG Healthcare
  • Theresa Tomkin, MS, APRN, ANP-C
    St. Charles Hospital, Catholic Healthcare Services of Long Island
  • Gara Edelstein, MSN, RN, NE-BC
    Good Samaritan Hospital, Catholic Healthcare Services of Long Island

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