ACEP academy addresses new skill sets for ED management

Many of the new skills ED managers can use to oversee their departments more effectively and engender more fruitful relationships with upper management are offered in a new continuing medical education course from the Dallas-based American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) — the Emergency Department Directors Academy (EDDA).

Emergency medicine training is superb at the clinical skills level, says Robert Strauss, MD, FACEP, program director for the EDDA.

"Resident graduates have a deep fundamental knowledge and expertise of how to take care of emergency patients," he says. "What they are not taught effectively is how to manage and administrate an ED."

In other words, individuals are not trained specifically to become emergency directors, he explains. For example, no one is taught how to run a meeting, Strauss notes.

The EDDA consists of four phases: A 4½ day didactic program; a course of candidate-selected study that includes on-line, audio reading, and reference materials; an intensive, interactive "meet the experts" portion at which problem solving is played out in small group settings; and an independent study project analyzed by experts upon its completion. The curriculum includes topics such as risk management/regulatory and legal, emergency medicine finance, human resources, contracting, professionalism and interpersonal communication skills, strategic planning, technology, operations/process (systems-based practice), management skills, and ED group governance and organization.

The entire process is anticipated to take two years on average, at which point, a certificate will be awarded. CME credits are given for completing each phase as well.

Strauss says he hopes the academy will raise the level of leadership in emergency medicine, and "help those who are not already expert leaders — and many already are — gain the needed exposure for those who are early in their directorship, or who are associate directors who would like to be directors."

Participants can learn how to develop an effective triage system, create more efficient patient throughput, manage radiology issues, manage contractual issues with physicians and the hospital, handle liability insurance, and understand reimbursement issues, Strauss notes.

"I know when I complete a chart, it goes somewhere and somebody codes it and sends a bill and money comes in, but unless somebody really exposes me to it, I have no idea of the complexity involved," he says.

Learning how to develop a business plan is another critical skill taught, Strauss explains. "If you want to develop a program for bedside registration, you can’t just say, Go out and get the equipment,’ You have to know how to describe how the program would be implemented, what the need is, what the value would be, and set up metrics to monitor its success," he adds.

[For more information on EDDA, contact Robert Strauss, MD, FACEP, Program Director, at (914) 489-9996. E-mail: rwstrauss@yahoo.com. Or contact Debbie Smithy, CMP, Director of Educational Meetings and CME, at (800) 798-1822. Web site: www.acep.org.]