Assigning Residents of Emergency Medicine to Screen Patients Before Admission: a Strategy to Overcome Overcrowding




Background: The overcrowded hospital is an unsafe one. Overcrowding the emergency department (ED) results in increased patient suffering, prolonged waiting time, deteriorating level of service, and on occasion, a worsened medical condition or even death. Objectives: This study proposes a strategy to overcome ED overcrowding. Materials and Methods: The proportion of acute area admitted patients to screened patients (A/S), and the proportion of patients who were finally transferred to inpatient wards (W/A) to those admitted in ED acute area were investigated during 6 consecutive months. Emergency medicine residents were assigned to screen patients before ED admission and afterwards. Results: The average A/S changed from 82.4% to 44.2% (P = 0.028), and the average W/A changed from 28.3% to 51.48% (P = 0.028) before and after screening patients respectively. The initiative resulted in 97 less patients in the acute area per day. Conclusions: Decreased number of acute area admitted patients, and increase W/A proportion showed that the initiative was successful in obviating ED overcrowding while provision of care to those most in need was not altered.