The Effects of Implementing a “Waterfall” Emergency Physician Attending Schedule
- Author(s): Spiegelman, Lindsey;
- Jen, Maxwel;
- Matonis, Danielle;
- Gibney, Ryan;
- Soheil, Saadat;
- Sakaria, Sangeeta;
- Wray, Alisa;
- Toohey, Shannon
- et al.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.5811/westjem.2021.2.50249
Introduction: Increases in emergency department (ED) crowding and boarding are a nationwide issue resulting in worsening patient care and throughput. To compensate, ED administrators often look to modifying staffing models to improve efficiencies.
Methods: This study evaluates the impact of implementing the waterfall model of physician staffing on door-to-doctor time (DDOC), door-to-disposition time (DDIS), left without being seen (LWBS) rate, elopement rate, and the number of patient sign-outs. We examined 9,082 pre-intervention ED visits and 8,983 post-intervention ED visits.
Results: The change in DDOC, LWBS rate, and elopement rate demonstrated statistically significant improvement from a mean of 65.1 to 35 minutes (P <0.001), 1.12% to 0.92% (P = 0.004), and 3.96% to 1.95% (P <0.001), respectively. The change in DDIS from 312 to 324.7 minutes was not statistically significant (P = 0.310). The number of patient sign-outs increased after the implementation of a waterfall schedule (P <0.001).
Conclusion: Implementing a waterfall schedule improved DDOC time while decreasing the percentage of patients who LWBS and eloped. The DDIS and number of patient sign-outs appears to have increased post implementation, although this may have been confounded by the increase in patient volumes and ED boarding from the pre- to post-intervention period.