The effect of gynecologic algorithm pathways on emergency department visit times

Amy S.D. Lee, Sarah L. Cohen, Jean R. Anderson, Arjun Chanmugam, Jessica L. Bienstock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The use of multidisciplinary algorithmic pathways is one strategy to improve efficiency and quality of care in Emergency Departments (EDs). To this end, in the fall of 2005, we implemented algorithmic pathways for evaluation of ED patients with common gynecologic complaints. Objectives: The goals of this initiative were to improve length of stay as a marker for operational efficiency and to reduce health care disparities by ensuring consistent management regimens for all patients. Methods: A retrospective observational comparison study was performed through a review of consults in the year preceding and the year after implementation of the pathways. The length of stay was calculated based on time of initial triage until discharge. The length of stay from both groups was compared using an unpaired Student's t-test analysis. Results: There was an 85-min decrease in the mean visit time between the pre-intervention group (108 patients, 610 min, SD 345.4) and the post-intervention group (105 patients, 525 min, SD 251.5), p = 0.04. Conclusions: Algorithmic pathways had a positive impact on patient care as measured by the average amount of time our patients spent in the ED. Gynecologic care in the ED was standardized, and length of stay for patients with gynecologic complaints decreased. The implementation of algorithms resulted in more consistent care with earlier initiation of pertinent studies, while facilitating more rapid critical decision-making by providers from both departments. Further analysis is required to examine cost-effectiveness as well as patient safety and provider satisfaction issues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-224
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • algorithms
  • decreased stay
  • intervention
  • pelvic pain
  • vaginal bleeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine

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