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CHA's ED Transformation Highlighted in National Webcast
Posted Date: 2/5/2014
On Tuesday, February 4, hospital leaders from across the country tuned into a webcast about CHA's ED transformation as part of the HealthLeaders Media Live series. During the presentation, titled "The Efficient ED: Reducing Triage Delays and Forging the Link Between ED and Primary Care," CHA ED and senior leaders detailed methods and strategies used to redesign and improve EDs, offering practical insight and real-world solutions.

CHA operates three 24-hour emergency departments at its Cambridge, Somerville, and Whidden Hospital campuses, which see nearly 100,000 emergency patients every year. Beginning in 2006, CHA underwent a dramatic process improvement initiative for its EDs, implementing a patient-centered approach that was widely embraced by the staff. “The change process that we went through was highly collaborative and drew from the ideas of the people who worked directly in the ED,” said Assaad Sayah, MD, CHA’s chief medical officer (pictured (r.) with moderator Jim Molpus). “Our staff knew what needed to be done – we just needed to empower them to implement the solutions.”

Enhancements to patient flow, including the introduction of patient partners, a streamlined admissions process, and an investment in state-of-the-art technology, have led to improved efficiency and wait times that average around five minutes. High patient satisfaction is reflected in CHA’s consistent ranking among the top Massachusetts hospitals on publicly reported quality measures.

In addition to detailing ED operational improvements during the webcast, panelists discussed how CHA has reinforced links between the EDs and its extensive primary care network in order to close care continuum gaps. CHA has deployed a team-based care model, incorporated an electronic medical record, and introduced targeted community health programs, all aimed at increasing access and providing preventive care to stay ahead of the patient and decrease utilization of services such as the EDs.

Dr. Sayah was joined by fellow panelists Allison Bayer, executive VP and chief operating officer, Melisa Lai Becker, MD, site chief of emergency medicine at CHA’s Whidden Hospital campus, Luis Lobón, MD, former interim chief of emergency medicine, and Charlene Scarpa, RN, associate chief nursing officer of emergency, perioperative, and endoscopy services.  

Cambridge Health Alliance is a vital and innovative community health system that provides essential services to Cambridge, Somerville, and Boston’s metro-north communities. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices, and the Cambridge Public Health Department. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, and Tufts University School of Medicine.