At the University of Colorado Hospital’s Emergency Department, we are committed to providing the highest quality of patient care. As part of this effort, our staff and faculty continuously and critically evaluate our existing processes to identify opportunities for improvement. With the assistance of a dedicated process improvement specialist, we strive for perfection in all aspects of patient care. On the surface, this means that we are proactively evaluating our department through the eyes of a patient, focusing on clear communication, streamlined information, and reduced wait times, to name a few. At a deeper level, process improvement incorporates dedicated, focused day-long sessions with data transparencyto provide frontline staff the opportunity to identify existing issues and propose corresponding solutions. Additionally, we have a committed process improvement steering committee, comprised of both physician and nursing leaders, ready to implement change as identified in these sessions.
While we acknowledge that redefining emergency care is a massive effort, we have already achieved great success in this arena. In April 2013 our department relocated to a new building, complete with an innovative approach to patient care – placing an emergency physician at the front of the house, to see patients immediately upon arrival to the Emergency Department. In the years that have passed since this process was initiated, we have seen vast improvement in door to doctor times, left without being seen rates, and patient satisfaction. Additionally, staff and faculty have benefited from these changes, and are excited to engage in future process improvement activities.
Although we may pause to celebrate these past successes, our improvement journey is not over. The Emergency Department’s commitment to process improvement is never-ending, and we continue to evaluate where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow. Incorporated in our future plan is a dedicated effort, CARE 2.0 (Compassionate Care, Access, Reliable, Efficient), that aims to solve our biggest challenges with department flow. We have centered patient feedback at the core of CARE 2.0, hoping to keep our patients, their families, and the emergency teams that care for them at the forefront of how we do business. With the ongoing support of the University of Colorado Hospital and all members of the Emergency Department, the future of emergency medicine is looking bright.