Emergency Department Tools and Resources

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) offers information and tools for clinicians and hospitals to improve quality, efficiency, and patient safety in emergency departments (EDs). These links go to four AHRQ resources to help health providers attain these outcomes.



Improving Patient Flow and Reducing Emergency Department Crowding: A Guide for Hospitals. Explains how hospitals can reduce crowding by:

  • Forming a patient flow improvement team.
  • Collecting data on measures that reflect ED quality.
  • Selecting optimal strategies to improve patient flow and reduce crowding.

Select to download the Guide.

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Emergency Severity Index: A Triage Tool for Emergency Department Care, Version 4: Implementation Handbook, 2012 Edition. Covers all details of the Emergency Severity Index (ESI), a five-level ED triage algorithm that categorizes patients according to both clinical and resource needs. A new section provides details on applying the ESI algorithm to pediatric populations.

The Handbook will help ED clinicians and administrators effectively implement a comprehensive ESI educational program.

Select to download the Handbook.

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Door-to-Doc Patient Safety Toolkit. Banner Health, a nonprofit health system in Phoenix, AZ, introduced a model to redesign patient flow processes in EDs. First implemented in 2006, the patient flow model is credited with reducing ED length of stay by 14 percent and "Door-to-Doc" waiting time by 58 percent. The model triages each patient, allowing faster admission for those who are very ill and require inpatient care and accelerated treatment of less sick patients.

Select to read about Door-to-Doc and access the Toolkit

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ED Pharmacist as a Safety Measure in Emergency Medicine. Focuses on improving medication safety by implementing an ED pharmacist program. A toolkit helps the implementation of similar programs into other hospital EDs. The toolkit includes:

  • A description of the formal, optimized role of the ED pharmacist.
  • Challenges and solutions to implementing ED pharmacist programs.
  • Evidence to support the efficacy of this type of program.

Select for the ED pharmacist toolkit

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Page last reviewed January 2012
Internet Citation: Emergency Department Tools and Resources. January 2012. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/systems/hospital/emergdepttools/index.html