Advertisement
Reducing Ambulance Diversions

Reducing Ambulance Diversions

Recent data indicate that about 45% of EDs in the United States report being “on diversion” at some point within a given year to alleviate crowding. “Although ambulance diversion has been used for quite some time, several studies link these diversions to negative consequences,” explains M. Kit Delgado, MD, MS. “These include prolonged transport times, delays in care, higher mortality, and lower hospital revenue.” Efforts have been made to reduce ambulance diversion in the past. These strategies include implementing ED patient-flow improvements. “Optimizing front end operations, such as patient triage, registration, and tracking, is also important,” says Dr. Delgado. “Other improvement efforts include adopting hospital-wide full capacity protocols to expedite the transfer of admitted patients from EDs to inpatient units.” New Insights on Diversion & Crowding Questions remain about the strategies that can best reduce diversion without increasing ED crowding and how best to coordinate these efforts. In the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, Dr. Delgado and colleagues had a study published that systematically reviewed simulation model investigations. “Our overall goal was to gain insights on how to optimally reduce ambulance diversion,” Dr. Delgado says. The analysis identified 10 studies that used simulations modeling ambulance diversion as a result of ED crowding or inpatient capacity problems. Results showed that ambulance diversion only minimally improved ED waiting room times. Strategies that were found to reduce diversion considerably include: 1. Adding holding units for inpatient boarders. 2. Adding ED-based fast tracks. 3. Improving lab turnaround times. 4. Smoothing out elective surgery caseloads. “The desired effect of reducing ED waiting room times by diverting ambulances is likely to be very small,” says...
[ HIDE/SHOW ]