In a fast-paced emergency room, clinicians need immediate access to information about patients as quickly as possible. When North York General Hospital (NYGH) in Toronto, Canada, began utilizing Cerner Emergency Medicine and ED LaunchPoint™ in September 2017, the solutions helped improve patient tracking, increased efficiency and helped bring in increased government funding.
“It gives us near real-time information about where our patients are in the departments, what has been ordered for them, where they are in their journey in terms of their emergency department (ED) visit, and if there are any issues,” said Sandy Marangos, RN, clinical director for emergency services and mental health.
“It doesn’t just stop with the tracker,” said Andrea Ennis, RN, clinical team manager of emergency services. “It’s integrated into everything we do and helps make sure people are following rules and parameters.”
NYGH previously utilized a different ED tracking solution, and it didn’t integrate with the rest of the hospital. Now, clinicians begin documentation when patients arrive and track them throughout their journey in the hospital.
In addition, NYGH leaders utilize data collected from the solutions to see patient flow and find ways to improve throughput.
“I look at how long people have been waiting,” said Marangos. “I get near real-time data I can use for short-term and long-term planning.”
Utilizing Cerner Emergency Medicine and ED LaunchPoint helped NYGH receive additional government funding through the Pay for Performance (P4P) program which provides extra funding when a hospital demonstrates improvement in patient flow and a reduction of wait times for both admitted and non-admitted patients.
“It’s a ministry-driven project that rewards hospitals,” said Ennis. “In the program, we are now first in the province after ED LaunchPoint.”
“The funding we receive from P4P is over and above the base funding the hospital receives,” said Marangos. “It helps us because the money is used to support patient flow throughout the hospital, not just in the emergency department."
The flexibility of the solutions also enables the hospital to scale up when the ED sees a large influx of patients.
“We’ve had a few incidents where we needed to quickly admit or clear out the emergency department,” said Sumon Acharjee, former CIO. “It allowed the rest of the hospital and clinicians to quickly get the patients and bring them to other areas of the hospital without any lost documentation.”
Now, a few clicks in the ED can save a lot of time in emergencies.
“We used to have to call down to health records,” said Ennis. “We would ask them to bring up a chart. This giant stack of paper would show up and an emergency physician or emergency nurse would try to go through this chart looking for key pieces of information.”
The integrated record also keeps patients from needing to answer the same questions every return trip to the hospital.
“There’s nothing more frustrating for a patient,” said Ennis. “Now I don’t need to go through this complicated conversation with the patient. When we’re able to meet them as soon as they walk through that door with this wealth of information, it sets the tone for the rest of their visit.”
Going forward, leaders at NYGH plan to continue improving processes related to patient flow.
“Optimization isn’t something you do once or twice,” said Ennis. “It has to be on a daily basis. Each and everything we do needs to be tied into the electronic information system.”
For more information, please visit our Emergency Medicine Model Experience page.