How Hospital Case Managers Can Help Reduce ED Walkouts & LWBS

  • Healthcare Management
  • emergency department - medical management
  • July 19, 2022

High ED walkouts and LWBS are two measurements that negatively affect hospitals. Can case managers help get these numbers under control?

Nobody Wins With ED Walkouts

Ahospital’s emergency department (ED) sees hundreds of thousands of patients yearly. With a shortage of healthcare providers, there is an increase in ED walkouts and leave without being seen (LWBS) patients. The LWBS statistic is particularly concerning as patients risk suffering more severe complications later. High LWBS means a loss of revenue and poor reviews. One of the goals of a thriving hospital and ED team is to reduce these statistics. Hospitals can do much more with the right strategy, even with limited resources.

viralmd marketing How Hospital Case Managers Can Help Reduce ED Walkouts _ LWBS .jpg

The metrics that matter

ED walkouts account for any patient that decides to leave without receiving treatment for the initial complaint. Some patients will see a doctor and leave against medical advice (AMA), while others LWBS. Several external factors impact these figures. For instance, surrounding hospitals may be closed, funneling more patients to a particular ED, resulting in overcrowding. Despite these challenges, high LWBS figures are often a sign of more significant issues.

Can case managers make a difference?

Some causes of LWBS patients include a lack of available beds, practitioners, and equipment to treat patients adequately. These factors significantly increase wait times, leading to frustrated, dissatisfied patients. That’s where case management comes in. Case managers are often one of the first contact points for a patient in the ED. These experts assess the initial concern of individuals or families and often remain a point of contact for the duration of their stay in the hospital.

Right people, right time

Hospital administration must assess ED peak times and employ adequate staff to counter high demand. Hiring more case managers is no easy task. Many hospitals are forced to reallocate current staff into case management. With technological advancements, hospitals can outsource cases to remote case managers, increasing ED visibility.

Increasing case management expertise

Hospitals are utilizing nurses and physicians as case managers if they cannot hire new staff. Skilled healthcare professionals can expertly triage patients when serving as the first point of contact. As a case manager, nurse practitioners, physicians, or physician assistants can fast-track exams and expedite time in the ED and overall length of stay.

Are case managers game changers?

Eliminating walkouts and LWBS entirely is not realistic. Even with exceptional care and time, some people will still decide to leave against medical advice. Administrators aim to reduce these figures as much as possible. With the right case management team, hospitals can make a difference.

Share This Content!

Ready to go viral?