Data-driven process and operational improvement in the emergency department: the ED Dashboard and Reporting Application

J Healthc Manag. May-Jun 2012;57(3):167-80; discussion 180-1.


Emergency departments (EDs) in the United States are expected to provide consistent, high-quality care to patients. Unfortunately, EDs are encumbered by problems associated with the demand for services and the limitations of current resources, such as overcrowding, long wait times, and operational inefficiencies. While increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of emergency care would improve both access and quality of patient care, coordinated improvement efforts have been hindered by a lack of timely access to data. The ED Dashboard and Reporting Application was developed to support data-driven process improvement projects. It incorporated standard definitions of metrics, a data repository, and near real-time analysis capabilities. This helped acute care hospitals in a large healthcare system evaluate and target individual improvement projects in accordance with corporate goals. Subsequently, there was a decrease in "arrival to greet" time--the time from patient arrival to physician contact--from an average of 51 minutes in 2007 to the goal level of less than 35 minutes by 2010. The ED Dashboard and Reporting Application has also contributed to data-driven improvements in length of stay and other measures of ED efficiency and care quality. Between January 2007 and December 2010, overall length of stay decreased 10.5 percent while annual visit volume increased 13.6 percent. Thus, investing in the development and implementation of a system for ED data capture, storage, and analysis has supported operational management decisions, gains in ED efficiency, and ultimately improvements in patient care.

MeSH terms

  • Benchmarking / organization & administration*
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Information Management / organization & administration*
  • Multi-Institutional Systems
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • United States