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Publication type: Article in scientific journal
Type of review: Peer review (publication)
Title: 'Emerge' : benchmarking of clinical performance and patients experiences with emergency care in Switzerland
Authors: Schwappach, David
Blaudszun, Annette
Conen, Dieter
Ebner, Heinz
Eichler, Klaus
Hochreutener, Marc-Anton
DOI: 10.21256/zhaw-4042
Published in: The International Journal for Quality in Health Care
Volume(Issue): 15
Issue: 6
Pages: 473
Pages to: 485
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher / Ed. Institution: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1353-4505
Language: English
Subjects: Wig; Quality improvement; Emergency care
Subject (DDC): 362: Health and social services
Abstract: Objective: To assess the effects of uniform indicator measurement and group benchmarking followed by hospital-specific activities on clinical performance measures and patients’ experiences with emergency care in Switzerland. Design: Data were collected in a pre-post design in two measurement cycles, before and after implementation of improvement activities. Trained hospital staff recorded patient characteristics and clinical performance data. Patients completed a questionnaire after discharge/transfer from the emergency unit. Setting: Emergency departments of 12 community hospitals in Switzerland, participating in the ‘Emerge’ project. Subjects: Eligible patients were entered into the study (18 544 in total: 9174 and 9370 in the first and second cycles, respectively), and 2916 and 3370 patients returned the questionnaire in the first and second measurement cycles, respectively (response rates 32% and 36%, respectively). Main outcome measures: Clinical performance measures (concordance of prospective and retrospective assessment of urgency of care needs, and time intervals between sequences of events) and patients’ reports about care provision in emergency departments (EDs), measured by a 22-item, self-administered questionnaire. Results: Concordance of prospective and retrospective assignments to one of three urgency categories improved significantly by 1%, and both under- and over-prioritization, were reduced. The median duration between ED admission and documentation of post-ED disposition fell from 137 minutes in 2001 to 130 minutes in 2002 (P < 0.001). Significant improvements in the reports provided by patients were achieved in 10 items, and were mainly demonstrated in structures of care provision and perceived humanity. Conclusion: Undertaken in a real-world setting, small but significant improvements in performance measures and patients’ perceptions of emergency care could be achieved. Hospitals accomplished these improvements mainly by averting strong outliers, and were most successful in preventing series of negative events. Uniform outcomes measurement, group benchmarking, and data-driven hospital-specific strategies for change are suggested as valuable tools for continuous improvement. Several hospitals have already implemented the developed measures in their internal quality systems and subsequent measurements are projected.
Further description: Erworben im Rahmen der Schweizer Nationallizenzen (
Fulltext version: Published version
License (according to publishing contract): Licence according to publishing contract
Departement: School of Management and Law
Organisational Unit: Winterthur Institute of Health Economics (WIG)
Appears in collections:Publikationen School of Management and Law

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