Emergency department performance indicators that encompass the patient journey

Qual Manag Health Care. 2006 Jan-Mar;15(1):27-38. doi: 10.1097/00019514-200601000-00004.


Objective: The study aimed to provide a recommended list of performance indicators from routinely collected data that measure most aspects of the patient journey through the emergency department (ED).

Methods: Data from a large tertiary ED were used to investigate the proposed performance indicators, which fell into 7 categories: background information, time from arrival to triage, time from triage to treatment, length of stay, readmission rate, left without being seen, and deaths in the ED.

Main results: Category 1 patients were triaged, treated, and discharged rapidly. For category 2 patients, the times from arrival to triage increased but times from triage to treatment were relatively stable. Patients in categories 3 and 4 were not triaged rapidly and both the arrival to triage and triage to treatment processes were unstable and deteriorating. The average time to treatment for patients treated outside recommended times was unstable and increasing for categories 2, 3, and 4. The number of patients who left without being seen was stable except for 2 periods, and the readmission rate was stable except for 1 period of increase.

Conclusion: The performance indicators use only routinely collected data and clearly identify the areas in which this ED performed poorly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / standards*
  • Medical Audit
  • New South Wales
  • Patient Transfer*
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care*