Emergency Severity Index (ESI): Is it broken?

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Emergency Severity Index (ESI): Is it broken?

November 20, 2020
Business Affairs

Reaping the benefits of effective ESI implementation
Successful training can result in exceptional improvements, especially when combined with other front-end process improvement initiatives. We integrate ESI best practices and education programs in many of our consulting engagements, resulting in increases in ESI inter-rater reliability and decreases in walk-out rates and wait times.

Accurately assigning an ESI level upon patient arrival is paramount to the appropriate movement of the patient. Inappropriate ESI assignment, or delay of determining the ESI level, can result in poor patient outcomes, inefficient care delivery and diminished patient experience. While innovative technology will complement the triage process, institutions need to ensure there is consistency of staff education and adherence to triage protocols. By strategically creating an effective process, leaders can mitigate adverse outcomes and develop an efficient and safe environment for both patients and staff.

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About the authors: Renee’ Cecil, DNP, RN, CEN, TCRN, SANE, NREMT, is a senior healthcare consultant with Philips Healthcare Transformation Services: Renee’ has over 16 years of healthcare clinical and leadership experience and has worked in community hospitals, academic trauma centers, critical care, helicopter EMS services, as well as a large healthcare system.

Brian Armstrong, MBA, BSN, NRP, FP-C, CCEMTP, is a senior healthcare consultant with Philips Healthcare Transformation Services: Brian brings decades of clinical and leadership experience in prehospital, emergency department, inpatient, and disaster response situations.


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