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J Emerg Med. 2006 Apr;30(3):269-76.

Data-driven quality improvement in the Emergency Department at a level one trauma and tertiary care hospital.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, LDS Hospital, 8th Avenue and C Street, Salt Lake City, UT 84143, USA.


To demonstrate how a comprehensive and internally driven Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) program was designed and implemented in our Emergency Department (ED) in 1999. This program involved monthly data collection and analysis, data-driven process change, staff education in the core concepts of quality, and data reanalysis. Data components collected during the program included census data, physician profiling, and focused clinical audits. CQI measures collected at the beginning of the program and quarterly included: (1) CQI metric data (turnaround times [TAT] and rates of left against medical advice [AMA] or left without being seen [LWOBS]), (2) rates and nature of patient complaints, and (3) results of patient satisfaction surveys performed by an outside consulting firm contracted by hospital administration. During the 4 years since its implementation the program demonstrated improvement in all measured areas. Despite an increase in patient volume of 32% to nearly 37,000 visits/year, and only minimal staffing adjustments, the mean quarterly TAT decreased from 183 min to 165 min (9.8% decrease), the rate of complaints dropped by 56.1% (2.1 per 1000 patients to 0.92), and patients leaving AMA or LWOBS decreased 66.7% from 2.7% to 0.9%. Overall, 44.8% of ED patients rated their care as "excellent." In summary, we demonstrate how a comprehensive quality improvement program was structured and implemented at a tertiary care center and how such a program demonstrated improvement in specific CQI parameters.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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