In today’s increasingly strained health care environment, hospital emergency departments (EDs) provide a critical primary and emergency care safety net for virtually every American. Yet over the last decade, studies have deemed the country’s EDs to be at a breaking point—weighed down by overcrowding and poor patient flow as volumes have increased, while at the same time, capacity has decreased.
As hospitals and EDs seek solutions, they are stymied by the lack of best practices and ED performance metrics that could give them the critical knowledge needed to better manage operations. To fill these gaps, hospitals participating in the recently completed Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Urgent Matters Learning Network II initiative developed a library of proven patient flow best practices. As a result, participating hospitals have become the first-ever in the U.S. to field-test ED standard performance measures.
To share their learnings with others, RWJF held an ED policy forum in Washington, D.C. on April 30, 2010 to discuss the program’s work and achievements. The morning’s discussions were moderated by Susan Dentzer, editor-in-chief of Health Affairs, the nation's leading journal of health policy. The forum, now available via Webcast, featured the perspectives and learnings of the participating hospitals, project leaders and a select group of nationally recognized leaders in emergency medicine invited to attend.