"Be quick": a systems response to overcrowding in the pediatric emergency department

Pediatr Emerg Care. 2010 Nov;26(11):808-13. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3181fa8853.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the combined effects of focused system changes on several key measures of emergency department (ED) quality (length of stay, waiting time, rate of leaving without being seen, and patient satisfaction) in a children's hospital ED.

Methods: System-wide ED changes were made and implemented during a 6-month period. The combined changes are called "be quick"--BEQK. The components were bedside registration, the Bed-ahead program, electronic medical records and tracking board, quick triage, and Kids Express. Three study periods were evaluated: before BEQK (2005) and the 2 periods after BEQK (2006 and 2007).

Results: The primary outcome measures, namely wait time, length of stay, and leaving without being seen rates, were all decreased during the 2 post-BEQK periods compared with the pre-BEQK period (2005). The mean waiting time was 46 minutes (95% confidence interval [CI], 39-53 minutes) in 2005 and this decreased to 22 minutes (95% CI, 21-23 minutes) and 14 minutes (95% CI, 13-15 minutes) in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The mean length of stay was 151 minutes (95% CI, 139-163 minutes) in 2005 and this decreased to 136 minutes (95% CI, 135-137 minutes) and 115 minutes (95% CI, 114-116 minutes) in 2006 and 2007, respectively. The rate of leaving without being seen was 2.45% of patient visits per month in 2005 and this decreased to 1.67% in 2006 and to 0.92% in 2007.

Conclusions: In our pediatric ED, focused system changes significantly decreased wait time, leaving without being seen, and length of stay and improved patient satisfaction.

MeSH terms

  • Bed Occupancy
  • Crowding*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Hospitals, Pediatric / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Medical Records Systems, Computerized
  • Patient Admission / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Triage
  • Waiting Lists