NQF endorses voluntary standards for EDs

The National Quality Forum (NQF), expressing its desired to reduce overcrowding and improve quality of care, has endorsed 10 national voluntary consensus standards for hospital-based ED care. The standards are:

  • median time from ED arrival to ED departure for admitted ED patients;
  • median time from ED arrival to ED departure for discharged ED patients;
  • admit decision time to ED departure time for admitted patients;
  • door to provider time;
  • left without being seen;
  • severe sepsis and septic shock: management bundle;
  • confirmation of endotracheal tube placement;
  • pregnancy test for female abdominal pain patients;
  • anticoagulation for acute pulmonary embolus patients;
  • pediatric weight in kilograms.

The endorsement of these measures is phase two of a project to increase public accountability and quality improvement related to emergency care at the facility and practitioner levels. In November 2007, NQF endorsed 12 national voluntary consensus standards to measure ED communication and acute myocardial infarction care as it relates to ED transfers.

"Increased accountability and information sharing through measurement and public reporting can help to truly enhance the performance of our nation's emergency departments," said Janet Corrigan, president and CEO of NQF, in a statement announcing the new standards. "These consensus standards for emergency department care are an important part of a broader goal to improve the quality and efficiency of health care in America."

To read the full specifications for all of the new NQF-endorsed voluntary consensus standards, as well as NQF's research recommendations, go to www.qualityforum.org. (Editor's note: The January 2009 issue of ED Management will include an in-depth analysis of these new standards and their implications for ED managers.)