Emergency Department Best Practices

Timely care in the Emergency Department is a priority for UT Southwestern because it is essential for the best patient outcomes. Delays in your care in the Emergency Department can contribute to harms, including discomfort, dissatisfaction, and risk for worsening illness or injury. Wait times in Emergency Departments can vary widely depending on a number of important things including: the numbers of patients seen and how sick they are, staffing in the ED, efficiency of evaluation and admission, and the availability of beds in the hospital. Below are some of the important measures to assess our care in the Emergency Department.

Best Practices/Core MeasuresUT Southwestern University Hospitals

Median Time from ED Arrival to Departure for Admitted ED Patients

Admit Decision Time to ED Departure Time for Admitted Patients

Median Time from ED Arrival to ED Departure for Discharged ED Patients

Patients Who Left Without Being Seen

Median Time from ED Arrival to Departure for Admitted ED Patients

What Does This Graph Show?

This measure shows the average time in minutes that patients spend in the emergency department from the time they arrive until they left the department for an inpatient bed. This number includes patient who were admitted to the hospital for inpatient care. It doesn’t count people who were discharged home.

Why Is This Important?

Long stays in the emergency department can mean there is understaffing, poor efficiency and coordination of care, or overcrowding. Care may be delayed and suffering made worse by waiting resulting in lower quality of care.

Admit Decision Time to ED Departure Time for Admitted Patients

What Does This Graph Show?

This shows the average time in minutes that patients spend in the Emergency Department from the time the doctor decided they need to be admitted to the hospital until they left the ED for their bed on the ward.

Why Is This Important?

Delays in transfer to the inpatient units can mean there is not enough staff, not enough beds or poor coordination of care among the departments in the hospital. Long delays can mean care is delivered later, and can result in more discomfort for patients and families.

Median Time from ED Arrival to ED Departure for Discharged ED Patients

What Does This Graph Show?

This measure shows the average time in minutes that our patients spend in the emergency department from the time they arrive until they are sent home. This applies only to the patients who don’t require a stay in the hospital, but are well enough to go home after evaluation and treatment.

Why Is This Important?

Long wait times before a patient is evaluated and treated may mean that an Emergency Department is understaffed or overcrowded. This can mean delays in your care and increased suffering while waiting. We have a state of the art Emergency Department with comfortable rooms where you receive care, but we want to minimize your wait time and get you home as soon as possible.

Patients Who Left Without Being Seen

What Does This Graph Show?

This measure shows the percentage of all patients who came to our Emergency Room and left without being seen by a healthcare professional.

Why Is This Important?

Emergency Departments that have  a high number of patients who leave without being seen may not have enough staff to provide timely and efficient care. When patients leave the department without being seen there is a risk that their illness will worsen and that they will have a worse outcome.