Region plan aims to enhance care, reduce ED wait times

Region plan aims to enhance care, reduce ED wait times
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Board sets ED targets

Winnipeg Health Region
Published Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Winnipeg Health Region is launching a new initiative to improve patient flow throughout the health-care system, a move that will enhance the delivery of care, ensure efficient use of resources, and reduce wait times in hospital Emergency Departments.

Arlene Wilgosh, President and CEO of the Winnipeg Health Region, said the new plan was recently approved by Region's Board of Directors and will be implemented in the weeks and months ahead.

"When patient flow is operating efficiently, it means our patients are getting the right care at the right time in the right place," Wilgosh said in announcing the plan during a speech to the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce. "When the system fails to move patients efficiently, these failings can manifest themselves in extended waits, often in our Emergency Departments and ambulance bays."

The plan includes specific targets for the enhanced delivery of services. Not surprisingly, the majority of the targets are aimed at monitoring the effect of patient flow improvements on the Emergency Department. They call on the Region to ensure by 2015 that:

  • Ninety per cent of all non-admitted patients are in and out of an Emergency Department within four hours;
  • Ninety per cent of admitted patients are in and out of an Emergency Department within 8 hours;
  • No patient will be in an Emergency Department for longer than 24 hours;
  • All ambulances are able to off-load patients within 60 minutes; and
  • All non-emergent visits will make up no more than 20 per cent of all Emergency Department visits.

"These targets are clear. These targets are measurable," said Wilgosh. "Meeting these targets will require all of us working in the system to be innovative, ready for change and accountable while maintaining patient safety as our number one priority."

In order to meet these goals all our health care providers must work together to better integrate and co-ordinate care," she said. "From the Emergency Departments to the in-patient units, to the care provided in the community and in our long-term care facilities. These targets belong to all of us."

To help achieve these goals, the Region has identified many different actions that can be taken. They include:

  • Establish community paramedics to handle non-urgent patients, reducing the need for them to visit an Emergency Department.
  • Provide primary care physicians with better access to diagnostic testing, thereby reducing the need to transfer patients to Emergency Departments for such services.
  • Promote the use of nurse practitioners in long-term care facilities to avoid use of acute care systems.
  • Implement Emergency Department surge plans to increase efficiency.
  • Review and adjust home care processes and assessments to facilitate discharge planning from Emergency Departments.

Wilgosh also highlighted a number of initiatives recently undertaken also designed to improve patient flow, including the Bell Hotel partnership with Manitoba Family Services and Housing, Centre Venture and the Main Street Project, the city's two QuickCare Clinics and the stationing of paramedics 24/7 at the Main Street Project.

Winnipeg Health Region Patient Flow Targets

The chart below shows how the Winnipeg Health Region is performing five key patient flow categories, along with the targets to be achieved by 2015. 

Category Current Target
Percentage of non- admitted patients in and out of ED within four hours 51 90
Percentage of admitted patients in and out of ED within eight hours 33 90
Percentage of patients in ED longer than 24 hours 5 0
Percentage of ambulances to unload patients within 60 minutes 77 100
Percentage of group that includes non-emergency visits to ED 45 20


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The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority acknowledges that it provides health services in facilities located in Treaty One and Treaty Five territories, the homelands of the Métis Nation and the original lands of the Inuit people. The WRHA respects and acknowledges harms and mistakes, and we dedicate ourselves to collaborate in partnership with First Nation, Métis and Inuit people in the spirit of reconciliation.
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