The Effect on Length of Stay After Implementation of Discharging Low Acuity Patients From Triage.


Far West


Riverside Community Hospital

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emergency medicine, length of stay, metrics, quality improvement, triage


Emergency Medicine | Quality Improvement


Introduction Overcrowding in the emergency department is a complex and challenging issue across the nation. The increasing number of patients seeking care in the emergency department leads to overcrowding and therefore decreased available rooms and slower throughput. As part of a quality improvement project to improve throughput, we implemented a policy encouraging the discharge of non-emergent patients directly from triage. Methods This was a retrospective pre- vs post-implementation analysis of a discharge process from triage to decrease emergency department length of stay. We implemented a policy that allowed the physician assistant to discharge lower acuity patients directly from triage. We collected daily length of stay metrics for a two-week period prior to and a two-week period after the implementation of the policy. Total and daily pre- and post-implementation length of stay means were compared and reported. Results There was a total of 1044 (pre-implementation) and 1063 (post-implementation) patients evaluated during the study period. There was a significant mean difference improvement in the overall length of stay post-implementation of 18.43 minutes (95% CI, 15.45 - 21.40). When comparing the differences for the day of the week, all days showed a statistically significant mean improvement in the length of stay of greater than 10%. Conclusion Discharging low acuity patients directly from triage can lead to a reduction in length of stay. Future studies are needed to determine the impact of different confounders on the length of stay of patients who are discharged from triage, as well as studies to evaluate the outcomes of patients that have been discharged from triage.

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