Improving Patient Flow and Reducing Emergency Department (ED) Crowding

In today’s increasingly strained health care environment, our nation’s hospital emergency departments (EDs) provide a critical primary and emergency care safety net for Americans in every community. Yet over the last decade, studies have deemed the country’s EDs to be at a breaking point, weighed down by crowding as patient volumes have steadily increased, while at the same time, capacity has decreased.

This issue brief from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-supported Urgent Matters Learning Network II (LN II) highlights the initiative’s first year achievements in developing hospital ED performance measures and improving quality. Six participating hospitals nationwide are working together over an 18-month period to identify, develop and implement strategies to do this while improving patient flow and reducing ED crowding. Their successes to date signal a promising future for our nation’s ED system.


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Urgent Matters Toolkit

The Urgent Matters program has worked to find solutions to the problems of poor patient flow and overcrowded EDs that could be applicable nationwide. The team identified the most innovative patient flow quality improvement strategies implemented by participating pilot hospitals and captured them in an easy-to-read and implement format. This toolkit contains 55 strategies with 95 associated tools.

View the toolkit