Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington is a leader in delivering the most advanced medical technologies and comprehensive health care services available in the northwest suburbs. Recognized for its commitment to patient safety, the hospital offers nationally acclaimed cardiovascular care, oncology services, advanced surgical capabilities, a state-of-the-art Birth Center and emergency services backed by the resources of a Level II trauma center. In 2017, Good Shepherd Hospital completed a four-year modernization project, ensuring that care delivery remains outstanding and attuned to the community’s evolving needs.
Improving Efficiencies in the ED
Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital made huge strides against two persistent problems faced by all Emergency Departments (ED): long wait times and inappropriate use of emergency services.
Longer wait times were correlating to a decrease in patient satisfaction scores, said Dawn Moeller, BSN, MHA, RN, CEN, clinical manager of Emergency and Trauma Services. By engaging with patients more quickly, the department hit 86 percent patient satisfaction in 2017.
Part of the success came through empowering triage nurses to initiate diagnostic processes before a patient is even placed in a room. If a room isn’t available, the nurse orders the necessary tests so the workup is immediately underway.
“By the time a patient is placed in a treatment room, their workup might already be completed,” Moeller said. “And the patient is feeling better about their experience.”
Another major boost was the development of a special team comprised of a physician, nurse and technician in a separate part of the ED to focus on minor cases. “If you present with a broken finger or a sore throat, we fast track you instead of putting you in the general queue of patients with higher acuity conditions,” Moeller said.
Technology has helped, too. The ED’s computerized tracking board is color-coded so it can discern at a glance how long patients have been waiting and for what reason—preventing patients from slipping through the cracks.
With these and other steps, the department has maintained its LWBS (“left without being seen”) rate at a rock-bottom 0.6 percent or less, while the national benchmark is two percent, Moeller explained. In November 2017, the ED process was recognized by the Russell Institute for Research & Innovation.
“The Emergency Department staff and physicians work as a team to explore different ways to deliver safe, quality care and are willing to explore new methods to exceed current performance,” said Mary Roesch, BSN, RN, director of Care Management, Medical/Surgical and the Emergency Department.
The department also created a system for routing recidivist patients around emergency services and to the appropriate care in order to promote more appropriate utilization of ED services.
The department’s clinicians connect each repeat patient with a support staff of care managers and social workers to develop an individual care plan (ICP). That has cut ED recidivism by 60 percent, according to Moeller, who said that with 900 patients enrolled so far, the program is saving $1 million annually.
The Illinois Health and Hospital Association awarded Good Shepherd a $25,000 grant to help replicate the program in other hospitals.
Moeller chalked the successes up to teamwork: “The Emergency Department works really well as a team, but we can’t work in isolation. It is the support of our executive team and the support and partnership of all departments that make this work.”