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Acad Emerg Med. 2011 Dec;18(12):1392-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2011.01229.x.

The past, present, and future of urgent matters: lessons learned from a decade of emergency department flow improvement.

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  • 1Center for Health Care Quality, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC, USA.


Over the past decade, emergency departments (ED) have encountered major challenges due to increased crowding and a greater public focus on quality measurement and quality improvement. Responding to these challenges, many EDs have worked to improve their processes and develop new and innovative models of care delivery. Urgent Matters has contributed to ED quality and patient flow improvement by working with hospitals throughout the United States. Recognizing that EDs across the country are struggling with many of the same issues, Urgent Matters-a program funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF)-has sought to identify, develop, and disseminate innovative approaches, interventions, and models to improve ED flow and quality. Using a variety of techniques, such as learning networks (collaboratives), national conferences, e-newsletters, webinars, best practices toolkits, and social media, Urgent Matters has served as a thought leader and innovator in ED quality improvement initiatives. The Urgent Matters Seven Success Factors were drawn from the early work done by program participants and propose practical guidelines for implementing and sustaining ED improvement activities. This article chronicles the history, activities, lessons learned, and future of the Urgent Matters program.

© 2011 by the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine.

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