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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 20(2); 2009 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 2009;20(2): 155-162.
Effect of Emergency Auto-Consultation System (EACS) on Length of Stay of Specialty Consultation Patients in the Emergency Department
Won Hee Kim, Hyuk Joong Choi, Tai Ho Im, Bo Seung Kang, Hyung Goo Kang
Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea. emer0905@hmc.hanyang.ac.kr
The length of stay (LOS) for patients in the emergency department (ED) provides an important measure of both ED overcrowding and patient satisfaction. Specialty consultation is one of the major factors that contributes to longer LOS. The aim of the study was to examine the effectiveness of a computer-based emergency auto-consultation system (EACS) in reducing additional LOS caused by specialty consultation.
The EACS was developed for use in managing specialty consultation in the ED. Each clinical department provides a daily list of 4 residents and 1 specialist as the doctors on duty. The ED doctors then use the EACS to contact the departments required for a specialty consultation: Clicking the department's name on the computer screen activates the short message service (SMS) calling system, which sends a message with the registration numbers and names of the relevant patients every 10 min to the mobile phones of individuals assigned as doctors on duty, in the order listed. The doctors who receive the SMS are asked to arrive at the ED within 10 minutes. If the the firstlisted doctors on duty do not show up in 10 minutes, an SMS is sent to the next group of doctors on duty on the list. In 50 minutes, therefore, 5 groups of doctors on duty will have received the SMS in the order listed. Each clinical department estimated the response time of doctors on duty 2 months before the adoption of the EACS versus afterward. The LOS of patients admitted to the ED was also compared before and after the adoption of the EACS. A questionnaire was used to survey the health professionals working in the ED about the changes in the intensity of labor and the needs of the EACS.
The number of patients participating in the study were 2,035 and 2,216, respectively, before and after the adoption of the EACS. The EACS significantly decreased both the response time of doctors on duty (34.8+/-35.5 min vs. 9.7+/-16.8 min, p=0.000) and the LOS (155.3+/-126.7 min vs. 144.6+/-110.7 min, p=0.003). In the survey, 44.7% of ED health care professionals responded that their intensity of labor were improved, and most of them agreed that the EACS should be required in the ED.
The computer-based EACS decreased LOS by reducing the response time of doctors on duty, and it also increased satisfaction among the ED health professionals.
Key words: Length of Stay, Emergency Department, Consultation
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