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AAP: Best Practices for Improving ER Flow for Pediatric Patients

Experts discuss strategies to improve flow through emergency department, including LEAN methodology

MONDAY, Dec. 29, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Best practices for improved flow and care for pediatric patients in the emergency department are discussed in a technical report published online Dec. 29 in Pediatrics.

The need for emergency medical services outstrips available resources on a daily basis. With this in mind, Isabel Barata, M.D., and colleagues from the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Pediatric Emergency Medicine discuss best practices for improving flow, reducing waiting times, and improving the quality of care of pediatric patients in the emergency department.

The authors note that the use of guidelines can improve quality of care, and that guidelines should be presented as a tool to be used in conjunction with clinical judgment. Strategies to improve emergency department throughput measures focus on LEAN methodology, which includes evaluation of systems, identification and elimination of waste, improvement of flow, and constant adaption. Best practices can reduce emergency department boarding; improve pediatric patient safety; and promote care that is effective, efficient, timely, and patient-centered. Practices should focus on the five-level triage system and nurse-initiated emergency care pathways at the point of initial assessment without delay in seeing a provider, as well as fast tracking and accompanying patients and responsive staffing. New solutions and strategies to prevent and manage pediatric overcrowding should be developed using interdisciplinary research and education.

"In summary, emergency department care and flow can be improved by implementing best practices at several steps in the workflow," the authors write.

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