Pediatric emergency department (PED) overcrowding and prolonged boarding times (admission order to PED departure) decrease quality of care. Timely transfer of patients from the PED to inpatient units is a key driver that relieves overcrowding. In 2015, PED boarding time at our hospital was 10% longer than the national benchmark. We described a resident-led quality-improvement initiative to decrease PED mean boarding times by 10% (from 173 to 156 minutes) within 6 months among general pediatric admissions.
We applied Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) methodology. PDSA 1 (October 2016) interventions were bundled to include streamlined mobile communications, biweekly educational presentations, and reminder signs. PDSA 2 (August 2017) provided alternative workflows for senior residents. Outcomes were mean PED boarding times for general pediatrics admissions. The proportion of PICU transfers within 12 hours of admission served as a balancing measure. Statistical process control charts were used to analyze boarding times and PICU transfer rates.
Leading up to PDSA 1, monthly mean boarding times decreased from 173 to 145 minutes and were sustained throughout the study period and up to 1 year after study completion. The X-bar chart demonstrated a shift with 57 consecutive months of mean boarding times below the preintervention mean. There were no changes in PICU transfer rates within 12 hours of admission.
Resident-led quality improvement efforts, including education and streamlined workflow, significantly improved PED boarding time without causing harm to patients.

Copyright © 2020 by the American Academy of Pediatrics.