THE OUTLOOK FOR HEALTH CARE IN 2023:

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Case Study

Patient-focused efficiency campaign

5 Minute Read

Overview

The challenge

Governments around the world often set targets for emergency department (ED) care. However, staff at many hospitals are skeptical of these targets and the processes to help achieve them.

The organization

Auckland City Hospital is an 833-bed New Zealand public hospital with 50,000 adult ED visits annually.

The approach

Auckland City Hospital used a year-long, internal marketing campaign to rebrand the government ED wait time target as “Valuing Patients’ Time.” The campaign made the connection between seeing patients faster and giving them better care by focusing on the positive effect of shorter wait times on the overall patient experience.

The results

Between 2009 and 2012, inpatient transfer wait times dropped from 8 hours to 90 minutes, and ED length of stay (LOS) declined from 6.88 hours to 4.54 hours.

 

Approach

The “Valuing Patients’ Time” campaign emphasized the patient benefits of adhering to the six hour emergency department target. It made the connection for clinical staff between seeing patients faster and giving them better care by focusing on the positive effect of shorter wait times on the overall patient experience.

The process for rolling out this campaign is detailed below. Step 3 highlights how staff were continually kept engaged in the campaign. Early “wins” were made known to staff, demonstrating the value of faster patient flow.

Presented under this light, wait time targets were no longer an abstract government mandate “from people who never set foot in a real emergency room.” Instead, the targets became instrumental to what clinical teams care about the most: providing high-quality care to their patients.

 

Results

Value for patients and clinicians alike

The results of the campaign were significant: Auckland City Hospital saw increased access target adherence and better flow from the emergency department to the hospital.

94%

Achievement of six hour ED target, up from 63% in 2009

2.34

Hours reduced in the ED average LOS

6.5

Hours reduced in inpatient transfer processes

Beyond improving these metrics, Auckland City Hospital was also able to change clinician perception of government targets. Through this campaign, clinicians came to understand how meeting the targets positively affected their patients. This change in perception made these gains possible.

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