Every population health manager has reducing avoidable emergency department (ED) utilization among their top priorities. However, ED optimization is often a missed opportunity to right-size ED utilization, which has benefits under both fee-for-service and fee-for-value payment models.
Increase in patient complexity coupled with expectations for convenient access fuel demand for emergency services. Nationwide, emergency departments face rising costs and high volumes—many of which are preventable. Patients in overburdened EDs endure long wait times, slow throughput, and low-quality care. While many health systems may want to invest in multi-million dollar expansions to accommodate demand, transformation of existing ED services can be a less costly and effective strategy to meet and curb demand.
This in-depth case study details how the University of Colorado Hospital (UCH) in Aurora, Colorado successfully redesigned emergency department services. Within one year, they reduced wait times, leave rates, avoidable hospital admissions, and total cost of care.
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