Expedited Discharge from an Academic Emergency Department: A Pilot Program

J Emerg Med. 2017 Dec;53(6):919-923. doi: 10.1016/j.jemermed.2017.08.075. Epub 2017 Oct 25.

Abstract

Background: As the numbers of emergency department (ED) visits and inpatient admissions continue to increase, there is growing interest in alternatives to inpatient hospitalization.

Objective: Our aim was to investigate a novel approach to expediting discharges from the ED with multidisciplinary discharge services to prevent an avoidable admission into the hospital.

Methods: This pilot study was conducted at a large urban tertiary-care ED in 2016. All patients presenting to the ED with planned inpatient or observation admission were considered for discharge with enhanced discharge planning services. The patients selected, discharge diagnoses, and outcomes were analyzed by descriptive statistics. This study was approved by the study site's Institutional Review Board, including waiver of patient consent.

Results: During the pilot period, 57 out of 143 (40%) selected patients with planned admission were discharged with enhanced discharge planning services. Median ED length of stay was 17.2 h and mean patient age was 73 years old. Of these patients, 7 (12%) returned within 72 h and 4 (0.07%) were subsequently admitted to the hospital.

Conclusions: In this pilot study, a novel approach to expediting discharges from the ED with multidisciplinary discharge services was feasible and resulted in fewer admissions to the hospital.

Keywords: admission; emergency department; expedited discharge; observation; tertiary care.

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Discharge / standards*
  • Patient Discharge / trends
  • Pilot Projects
  • Program Development / methods
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors*