Rapid medical assessment: improving pediatric emergency department time to provider, length of stay, and left without being seen rates

Virginia W Tsai, Ghazala Q Sharieff, John T Kanegaye, Lesley Ann Carlson, Jim Harley
Pediatric Emergency Care 2012, 28 (4): 354-6

OBJECTIVES: This article aimed to study the impact of a rapid medical assessment (RMA) program on patient flow and left without being seen (LWBS) rates in a pediatric emergency department (ED). RMA is designed to evaluate and discharge uncomplicated patients quickly or initiate diagnostic workup and treatment before the patient is placed in an ED bed.

METHODS: Rapid medical assessment was initiated January 1, 2008 with an assigned midlevel provider. We compared 6 months of data from January 1 to June 30, 2007 (pre-RMA), to January 1 to June 30, 2008 (post-RMA). Data studied were obtained from a tracking system and include the time to provider, ED length of stay, and the LWBS rate. t Test was used to compare results, and χ test was used to compare LWBS rates.

RESULTS: During the study period, there were 28,360 patients seen in 2007 and 32,053 in 2008. Time to provider mean time was 80 minutes (median = 57) in 2007 and 53 minutes (median = 39) in 2008, with a difference of 27 minutes (95% confidence interval, 25-28 minutes). Mean length of stay in 2007 was 239 minutes (median = 220) compared to 181 minutes (median = 162) in 2008, with a difference of 58 minutes (95% confidence interval, 56-60 minutes). The LWBS rate decreased from 9% in 2007 to 3% in 2008 (χ P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: Rapid medical assessment is an effective way to improve patient flow and reduce the LWBS rate. A decrease in the LWBS rate allows the ED to provide health care to these potentially high-risk patients.

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