At some point, most emergency physicians have wondered how their emergency departments stack up against the 4,300 others in the country. Now it’s possible to glean answers based on real data—and improve patient care and satisfaction in the process.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 28 – No 02 – February 2009
The Emergency Department Data Institute (EDDI) is a new data collection and analysis program from ACEP. By participating, emergency department directors, nurse managers, and CEOs will receive data on throughput, lengths of stay (LOS), volume, and resource utilization, including common drugs, tests, and procedures. They also will be able to measure and compare their departments’ performance against other emergency departments of similar sizes and characteristics nationally.
“This is a national opportunity to characterize—and measure—our practice. It is overdue. We have a tremendous chance to improve how we care for patients,” said ACEP President Nick Jouriles, M.D.
“By comparing our individual practices to those of others, we can see what we are doing well and where we can improve,” he added. “The best practices nationwide will stand out and serve as an example for others to emulate. It is another way that ACEP is helping the 120 million patients who need emergency care every year.”
Getting EDDI Off the Ground
ACEP member Dr. Rick Bukata said he has long seen the need for benchmarking in emergency medicine.
“Nurses and doctors and CEOs have a common goal of making EDs just as good and efficient as we can,” said Dr. Bukata, a clinical professor of emergency medicine at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and medical director of emergency services at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center. “But to do that, we need data. The idea is to try and measure this industry, compare like with like, and find the exemplars.”
For example, “everybody wants to know, ‘How long should it take to be seen? How long does it take to get through triage?’” Dr. Bukata said. “Everybody wants to know this, but nobody does know it.”
Dr. Bukata said some large hospital chains may keep such data for proprietary use, but most hospitals are unaffiliated nonprofits without access to this information. “We don’t need an outsider to measure our business,” he added. “We’re quite capable.”
In 2000, the ACEP Board of Directors convened a Benchmarking Task Force that spent the next 7 years developing the collection tools and conducted alpha and beta testing of the project in a variety of hospital settings. After a period of testing, the Board charged the College in June 2008 to develop what is now known as the EDDI.