Results Pending Unit: Improving Emergency Department Flow and Patient Satisfaction [paper]




Hartman, Amy

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Introduction: Overcrowding and boarding patients in the emergency departments (ED) leads to unacceptable patient care and staff productivity. When there is poor patient flow through the ED the following negative outcomes occur: increased patient wait times, increased lengths of stay (LOS), and poor patient satisfaction scores which affects the units benchmark metrics. A Results Pending Unit is a physical space in the ED that includes a dedicated nurse where discharged patients can wait for test/lab results prior to leaving the ED (StudorGroup, 2019). The purpose of this study was to determine the impact of implementation of a Results Pending Unit (RPU) for patients waiting in the ED at a rural 125-bed facility with 16 ED beds would improve patient flow (wait times and lengths of stay), and patient satisfaction with ED experience. Methods: A pre-implementation and post-implementation comparison study was undertaken to evaluate the ED workflow and patient satisfaction ratings after implementation of the RPU. Two weeks after the opening of the RPU, data from administrative computer-generated reports was analyzed to evaluate ED patient flow by wait times and lengths of stay. Press Ganey surveys were evaluated for the month of October to determine if the RPU improved patient satisfaction scores. Results: Outcomes of workflow and patient satisfaction were analyzed post-implementation of the RPU. With the implementation of the RPU, ED workflow was improved through decreased wait times and LOS. Patient satisfaction scores increased for Overall impression of the ED but did not show an improvement in the Arrival portion of the survey post-implementation of the RPU. Conclusion: The goal of meeting the national average wait time and length of stay was obtained by implementing an RPU. While not a direct measure, the facility patient satisfaction goal for “Overall Assessment” increased by 3.1%. The patient satisfaction goal for “Arrival” did not show improvement in the overall goal after implementation of the RPU.


A capstone project submitted to the St. David's School of Nursing at Texas State University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Nursing, December 2019.


emergency department, wait time, length of stay, patient satisfaction, Nursing


Hartman, A. (2019). Results pending unit: Improving emergency department flow and patient satisfaction [Report]. St. David's School of Nursing, Texas State University.


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