Continuous Improvement of Emergency Care and Services


Murdock BSIE, Ph.D., Marianne   (1991, ASQC)   Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA

Annual Quality Congress, Milwaukee WI    Vol. 45    No. 0
QICID: 9632    May 1991    pp. 119-124
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Article Abstract

This abstract is an edited version of the author's original.

Because of concerns expressed by care-providers and consumers, the Emergency Department of Mary Washington Hospital initiated a total quality control/continuous improvement program.

Brainstorming sessions conducted with Emergency Department Associates to gain their perspective on the nature and type of quality problems led to two conclusions: (1) Many of the quality problems arise from the process nature of the work; and (2) The Emergency Department is an internal customer of other hospital departments.

A baseline study to assess customer satisfaction, needs, and expectations and to evaluate process flow indicated that the average turnaround time (from arrival to time of discharge) was 150.1+11.4 minutes. More than half of the patients' time was spent waiting for and receiving services.Based on the outcomes of the brainstorming sessions and the baseline study, three general foci for the continuous improvement program were developed: (1) setting a quality agenda, (2) establishing and sustaining quality improvement teams, and (3) training Associates in the philosophies and methods of continuous improvement.

While the total quality control/continuous improvement is in a constant state of flux, the Emergency Department has learned much about the process to date. Their next step is to expand the program to the whole institution.


Brainstorming,Continuous improvement (CI),Health care,Internal customer,Teams,Total Quality Control (TQC),Process improvement,Baseline study

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