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Is There a Benchmark for Emergency Department Callbacks?

Question

We are currently attempting to call all patients who have visited our emergency department. Our success rate at reaching these individuals is about 18 percent. Is there a benchmark by which we can compare ourselves with other hospitals to determine whether this is about average?

Answer

I think 100 percent attempted calls to eligible patients (patients with phones who live in-state and were treated and released) is a great goal. But you will not reach all of these patients, so also set a goal for patients contacted. I recommend a goal of 60 percent contacted, as most of the emergency departments Studer Group works with that are rated in the 90th percentile or above for patient satisfaction are reaching 60 percent or more of patients. You will probably have to make more than one attempt to call many of these patients, during the day and during evening hours, to achieve this level of success. Though it’s difficult for staff, early evening is a great time to catch parents who work outside the home and other working adults. I suggest two or three attempts per patient, one in the day, and one in early evening.

Don’t call so early or so late that you inconvenience patients. Remember, patients love it when physicians in the emergency department do callbacks, too.