Emergency Department's Speed and Accuracy

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Emergency Department's Speed and Accuracy Rebekah Pryor Mount Vernon Nazarene University Quality Management in Healthcare Organizations HCA6063 February 16, 2013 Dr. David H. Coleman Introduction America's emergency rooms are having several problems. Emergency medicine encompasses the care of patients with traumatic injuries or serious signs and symptoms of disease. Quick evaluation and rapid treatment of these patients obviously cannot be done on an “elective” basis (Brewster, 2007). These services are invariably provided under the auspices of a hospital and are available to patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Moreover, hospital emergency departments (EDs) are the only part of the health care system that is required by federal law to provide care to all patients, regardless of ability to pay. A sizable number of patients who visit the ED do not require the level of care that an emergency room provides. In some states, for example, patients with non-urgent medical problems account for over 40 percent of ED visits. Emergency rooms are constantly filled with increasing numbers of uninsured Americans and enrollees in public programs. They find their overcrowding further aggravated by outdated federal and state policies (Brewster, 2007). Worse, while many emergency rooms are already operating at peak capacity on a day-to-day basis, the emergency medical system is incapable of absorbing the massive surge in demand for emergency medical assistance that would follow a natural disaster or terrorist attack. Emergency Department Problems – Speed and Accuracy There are several reasons why this is becoming a nationwide problem. First, the emergency medical system is stretched beyond capacity (Schull, 2011). From 1994 to 2004, visits to hospital emergency departments increased from 93.4 million to 110.2 million-an 18

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