Improving ED efficiency and safety: a case study

Monday, November 10, 2014

Princess Alexandra Hospital in Queensland has doubled the number of Emergency Department (ED) patients discharged within four hours, according to a report published in the latest issue of the AHHA’s peer-reviewed journal, The Australian Health Review.

Through reforms to ED and hospital processes, Princess Alexandra Hospital was able to significantly improve the percentage of patients leaving the ED within four hours from 32% to 62%, while halving the average time in the Emergency Department  from 7 hours to 3 ½.

The report, “Aiming to be NEAT: safely improving and sustaining access to emergency care in a tertiary referral hospital”[i]details the process the hospital implemented to achieve these impressive results.

“The work being done at Princess Alexandra Hospital provides important evidence for emergency department and inpatient teams seeking to improve performance and for health leaders seeking to drive improvements in health service delivery,” said Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Chief Executive, Alison Verhoeven.

The report authors also established a link between the improved efficiency of the emergency department at Princess Alexandra Hospital and a decrease in overall hospital mortality from 2.3% to 1.7%.

“In highlighting the decrease in overall patient mortality at Princess Alexandra Hospital, we are able to see a correlation between the efficient treatment of those individuals that are lower on the triage scale and the freedom of time to spend on those patients requiring greater care. By discharging patients requiring a lower level of care, emergency department staff are able to provide a greater quality of care to those in need.  We have really focussed on making the process for emergency admission to our hospital more efficient and safer,” said report author, Dr Clair Sullivan.

“The improvement processes for emergency care instituted at Princess Alexandra Hospital exemplify the focus Australia’s public hospitals have on efficiency and continuous quality improvement, including the implementation of Lean thinking strategies to drive change,” says Ms Verhoeven. “Princess Alexandra Hospital is to be commended for this work.”  

To read the article, see: http://www.publish.csiro.au/view/journals/dsp_jour...

The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association is the national peak body for public and not-for-profit hospitals, community and primary healthcare services, and advocates for universal, high quality and affordable healthcare to benefit the whole community.


[i] Report authored by Clair M. Sullivan, Andrew Staib, Judy Flores, Leena Aggarwal, Alan Scanlon, Jennifer H. Martin and Ian A. Scott 

Media Enquiries:

Alison Verhoeven

Chief Executive, The Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association

0403 282 501