Every October, during the American College of Emergency Physicians’ (ACEP) annual scientific assembly, the George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences’ emergency department division, “Urgent Matters,” recognizes an “Emergency Care Innovation of the Year,” a crowd-sourced strategy developed to improve patient flow and reduce ED crowding.
Blue Jay Consulting (now Philips Blue Jay Consulting (PBJC)), along with Schumacher Clinical Partners, has sponsored the award since 2013; however, to preserve the integrity of the award, PBJC does not participate in the judging process or the selection of winners. We do this because we want the focus to remain on what matters most: recognizing innovation that improves patient care. This year, the meeting will focus on improving the value of acute urgent care while aligning with new payment models and government programs.
The ED is a high-stress environment for both patients and clinicians. Often called the ‘font door’ or the “heart” of the hospital, the ED is where acute, unscheduled care must be available at a moment’s notice. For this reason, previous winners of the Urgent Matters Emergency Care Innovation of the Year focused on improving ED efficiencies with new thinking. For example, a past submission recommended an app to reduce the time nurses spend calling patients after they’ve been discharged and provide a text option.
Last year’s winner, the Alternatives to Opioids Program (ALTO), was recognized for its approach to managing opioid addiction in the ED. The program, submitted by St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, aims to leverage evidence-based multi-modal non-opioid approaches for pain management. The program focused on patient safety and education, working to pair peer counselors with patients exhibiting a history of opioid abuse. Through ALTO, patients are educated on the importance of using opioid alternatives as a first line of defense against mild to moderate pain, reserving opioids as a second line treatment. As a result of the program, St. Joseph’s was able to reduce the number of emergency department opioids (morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone, hydromorphone and codeine) prescribed by 38 percent.
Perhaps most importantly, the Emergency Care Innovation of the Year Award has a strong emphasis on education for all. Every submission (with sufficient merit) is incorporated in the Urgent Matters Toolkit, a resource that is designed to target specific issues facing EDs and is made available to the public all in the name of better acute urgent care. Through our sponsorship of this award, we are supporting an open-sourced approach to emergency care as we look to improve EDs for patients around the world.
The emergency department is a unique environment that requires unique solutions – we’re looking forward to seeing this year’s winner at the Urgent Matters annual meeting at ACEP this fall. Philips Blue Jay Consulting wishes all who enter the best of luck – see you in October!