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NQF Endorses Measures to Address Care Coordination and Efficiency in Hospital Emergency Departments
Date:10/30/2008

Measures can help decrease wait time, increase physician productivity, and safety

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To reduce overcrowding, decrease patient wait time, and improve quality of care, the National Quality Forum (NQF) endorsed 10 national voluntary consensus standards for hospital-based emergency department care. The measures aim to improve efficiency and care coordination in emergency departments where high demand and capacity issues have increased patient wait time and decreased physician productivity.

In the US, visits to hospital emergency departments account for approximately 10 percent of all ambulatory medical care visits. From 1994 through 2004, the number of emergency department visits in the US increased by 18 percent, while the number of emergency departments decreased by more than 12 percent.

"Increased accountability and information sharing through measurement and public reporting can help to truly enhance the performance of our nation's emergency departments," said Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of NQF. "These consensus standards for emergency department care are an important part of a broader goal to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in America."

As a whole, the measures within this set address the safety and effectiveness of emergency care, care coordination and communication, and efficient management of patient flow through the emergency department. Measures are sensitive to unique needs of vulnerable patients including racial and ethnic minorities, Medicaid patients, and emergency department care in rural settings.

To improve patient safety and efficiency, specific measures within this set track the wait time for patients from arrival to departure within the emergency department, and the number of emergency department patients who leave without seeing a physician. Measures address patient safety by tracking procedures and medications administered to patients while
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SOURCE National Quality Forum
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