This different way of working resulted in a 22% increase in direct bedding, i.e. patients who could go directly from the waiting room to a treatment room without being triaged in a separate room first. The average time patients spent in the waiting room decreased by 21% (from an average of 18.5 minutes down to 14.5 minutes). The turnaround time was further shortened by 5 minutes per patient1.
Renewed work agreements in the ED
An analysis among ED staff also showed that many existing work agreements were not known or recorded in the same way by all team members. The steering committee, together with Philips consultants and a delegation of doctors, nurses, and doctor's assistants, collaborated to define new work agreements, including dealing with emergencies at the counter, requesting examinations, and performing minor surgical procedures.
"The work agreements are now much clearer," says van Kooten. "For example, we have an agreement that patients who are referred from the ED will be admitted within twenty minutes and that lab results will be received within an hour."
Not all work agreements were able to be addressed in one session. Therefore, Philips consultants developed a Work Agreements Toolkit, which team leaders will use to independently organize their own sessions to discuss future work agreements.
The collaboration with consultants from Philips was a positive experience: "We realized that the workload was too high and that patients sometimes had to wait too long,” says van Kooten. “In cases like this, it’s good to get external help to take a close look at how you do things, as this will give you new insights. Together you can review and determine what exactly you need to do to tackle this kind of issue. And, if a blockage occurs somewhere in the team, it is not necessarily the fault of that one colleague – the whole team can take the responsibility to organize things differently. It is frustrating for everyone when the waiting room is full of unhappy patients and there are four ambulances pulling up to the door."