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Quality Improvement and Patient Safety (QIPS) plays an important role in addressing shortcomings in optimal healthcare delivery. However, there is little published guidance available for emergency department (ED) teams with respect to developing their own QIPS programs. We sought to create recommendations for established and aspiring ED leaders to use as a pathway to better patient care through programmatic QIPS activities, starting internally and working towards interdepartmental collaboration.
An expert panel comprised of ten ED clinicians with QIPS and leadership expertise was established. A scoping review was conducted to identify published literature on establishing QIPS programs and frameworks in healthcare. Stakeholder consultations were conducted among Canadian healthcare leaders, and recommendations were drafted by the expert panel based on all the accumulated information. These were reviewed and refined at the 2018 CAEP Academic Symposium in Calgary using in-person and technologically-supported feedback.
Recommendations include: creating a sense of urgency for improvement; engaging relevant stakeholders and leaders; creating a formal local QIPS Committee; securing funding and resources; obtaining local data to guide the work; supporting QIPS training for team members; encouraging interprofessional, cross-departmental, and patient collaborations; using an established QIPS framework to guide the work; developing reward mechanisms and incentive structures; and considering to start small by focusing on a project rather than a program.
A list of 10 recommendations is presented as guiding principles for the establishment and sustainable deployment of QIPS activities in EDs throughout Canada and abroad. ED leaders are encouraged to implement our recommendations in an effort to improve patient care.
We sought to assess the impact of the integration of the new roles of primary health care nurse practitioners (NPs) and physician assistants (PAs) on patient flow, wait times and proportions of patients who left without being seen in 6 Ontario emergency departments (EDs).
We performed a retrospective review of health records data on patient arrival time, time of initial assessment by a physician, time of discharge from the ED and discharge status.
Whether a PA or NP was directly involved in the care of patients or indirectly involved by being on duty, the wait times, lengths of stay and proportion of patients who left without being seen were significantly reduced. When a PA or NP were directly involved in patients' care, patients were 1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3–2.1, p < 0.05) and 2.1 (95% CI 1.6–2.8, p < 0.05) times more likely to be seen within the wait time benchmarks, respectively. Lengths of stay were 30.3% (95% CI 21.6%–39.0%, p < 0.01) and 48.8% (95% CI 35.0%–62.7%, p < 0.01) lower when PAs and NPs, respectively, were involved. When PAs and NPs were not on duty, the proportion of patients who left without being seen were 44% (95% CI 31%–63%, p < 0.01) and 71% (95% CI 53%–96%, p < 0.05), respectively.
The addition of PAs or NPs to the ED team can improve patient flow in medium-sized community hospital EDs. Given the ongoing shortage of physicians, use of alternative health care providers should be considered. These results require validation, as their generalizability to other locations or types of EDs is not known.
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