New Dashboard Helps Improve Patient Experience in SSM Emergency Departments  
Brian Piper 

What if every Emergency Department (ED) within SSM Health Care had a tool that gave them near real-time information that could help decrease the time patients spend waiting for care while making the overall emergency room experience more efficient? A new feature in SSM Health Care’s electronic health record (EHR) system gives emergency teams exactly that and more.

According to Roger Staten, Epic ASAP Product Specialist, the new “dashboards” are tools that can help teams objectively identify and improve patient movement through the emergency department.  Staten worked with George Benard, Director, Healthplex Emergency Services to develop and pilot the dashboards in SSM’s Oklahoma City market where the program has already demonstrated improvements in moving patients through the emergency experience.

Bernard says when St. Anthony Hospital transitioned to EHR he recognized a huge gap between real time and the reports they were using to make decisions that sometimes came weeks later.

“If we are retroactive and not proactive in operations, then it doesn’t help us,” he noted. “So what the dashboard does is show us a true pulse of the ED all the time.”

The computer based dashboard provides quick-read indicators on the various points along a patients ED path. ED teams can see green lights where things are flowing as planned and yellow or red lights on areas that may need attention.

“So instead of having to wait 24 hours to run the numbers you can look at it currently and deploy resources where they are needed,” says Elizabeth Moore , Clinical Support Nurse at SSM St. Clare Health Center’s ED

Staten says to think of the dashboard like a TV. When breaking news is happening sometimes you flip to different channels on you TV to get different viewpoints.

“The various segments that make up a patient’s ED visit are like your different channels,” he said. “In this particular case the channels are things like – the waiting room, triage and most importantly various critical points along the path that paint a picture of a patient’s stay in the ED.”

With the dashboard ED teams can now view near real time numbers for such things as how long it takes to move a patient from: door-to-triage; triage to room; time from room assignment until a physician sees them and time from when physician sees them to when they make a decision on discharge, admission or transfer. Combined these “channels” provide an overview of the total length of the patient experience.

The demonstrated success of the dashboard resulted in a decision to deploy the new tool across the entire SSM Health Care system. All hospitals currently utilizing the EHR system can now access the dashboard.

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