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July 13, 2022

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Integrating Emergency and Hospitalist Care to Strengthen Performance

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Operational barriers and a lack of collaboration between emergency medicine (EM) and hospital medicine (HM) clinicians can often hamper efforts to improve clinical quality. The residual strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery from the shifting patient volumes and high-stress clinicians faced continues to heighten these barriers. When a Georgia facility sought to improve throughput and boost experience scores, they turned to TeamHealth.

One Team, One Goal

In the past, the emergency medicine and hospitalist departments had worked independently of one another, as is common in many facilities. This lack of synergy across the continuum of care hindered throughput and patient experience. With the TeamHealth partnership in place for both emergency medicine and hospital medicine, the teams now shared the same cultural mindset and demonstrated enhanced collaboration.

Facility leadership identified two immediate strategic goals to improve throughput and boost patient experience: improved cultural collaboration and standardization of care delivery across the clinical team. The teams focused on implementing best practices in patient flow, standardizing transitions of care. Such integration allowed the teams to communicate more freely, bolstered clinician accountability and enhanced the patient experience. Facility medical directors implemented accountability and transparency with clear and uniform goals.

Clinical Integration Supports Positive Change

In our vast experience installing integrated care, we see that consistency and standardization increase clinician engagement. That was also true in this case. By integrating service lines, all clinicians became part of the same team. The teams overcame common intangible barriers such as different mindsets or opposing cultures. Furthermore, integration also served to curb more tangible barriers, such as differing technology utilization.

The facility reaped the benefits of improved metrics, better patient flow and higher clinician engagement by unifying the methods and goals of these vital service lines. This also lessened operational responsibilities for the C-suite and other stakeholders outside these teams.

Strengthening Operational and Clinical Performance

As one team, the departments now operate jointly and have already begun to see the immediate benefits from the programs. Some of the most significant areas of enhancement are the rapid improvements in length of stay and patient experience scores.

  • Length of stay (LOS) consistently decreased for both service lines. For emergency medicine, LOS Admit averages decreased rapidly from Q1 to Q2 (when TeamHealth began a partnership with the facility) by more than 40%.
  • Patient experience scores improved for both emergency medicine and hospital medicine, with hospital medicine reaching 92% of their target in Q2.

Improvement does not stop with these short-term successes, though. The programs will continue to drive excellence and channel the recent successes into sustained advancements in quality and experience. For example, the team is building a multidisciplinary rounds strategy to impact throughput and patient experience.

TeamHealth’s Integrated Clinical Services

Clinical integration supports improved throughput and enhanced patient experience scores. Our deep operational knowledge and clinical best practices developed by our clinicians and administrators over decades of experience advance care in our partner facilities across the country. To explore how our services can support your facility, please connect with us.