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Emergency Department dashboard frequently asked questions

Why was the Emergency Department dashboard developed?

The Emergency Department (ED) dashboard assists hospital management, clinicians and staff to monitor and manage the patient flow in emergency departments.

The program was funded by the Commonwealth Government and supports SA Health in meeting the objectives of the COAG Emergency Department and elective surgery waiting list reduction plans.

Why is this information being made available on the internet?

The ED dashboard will provide the South Australian community with easy access to up-to-date information about how the State’s metropolitan public hospitals are performing.

It also helps to remove some of the mystique around how hospitals are run and inform the public about how patient flow is managed in a busy hospital environment.

Do other states in Australia publish this type of information?

South Australia is the first state in the country to make this level of extensive information regularly available to the public.

SA Health already publishes regular updates on a range on a range of hospital data, including elective surgery waiting times and notifiable diseases.

By publishing regular Emergency Department patient flow data for all South Australian metropolitan hospitals, SA Health is increasing the transparency of its health system and helping to inform the public of the complexities involved in managing a busy hospital environment.

How often is the ED dashboard updated?

The data is updated from each hospital every 30 minutes. The dashboard provides a regular update on the number of patients in the ED area of South Australia’s metropolitan public hospitals at any given time.

What do hospitals use this information for?

The dashboard is just one of many tools that our hospitals use to manage and monitor patient flows. Clinicians and hospital staff were involved in selecting which data should be included in the dashboard. In addition to the dashboard, hospitals also monitor a range of other data to ensure that patient safety is maintained.

Will the dashboard stop people from going to their local hospital in an emergency?

Anyone who needs emergency or urgent medical attention should call 000 for assistance as normal.

The dashboard provides people with access to regular information about how individual metropolitan hospitals are performing to help them understand how patients are managed in a hospital environment.

Are there common busy periods in hospitals?

All hospitals across the country experience periods of high demand.

It is important that people remember that hospital Emergency Departments are for emergencies. Anyone who does not need immediate, urgent care should visit their GP or phone Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 for assistance.

What is being done to improve SA’s metropolitan public hospitals?

Services are being built up in every South Australian metropolitan hospital and we are also investing in country hospitals so people can be treated closer to home.

The State Government is also building a network of GP Plus Health Care Centres across South Australia to keep people healthy and out of hospital.

These Centres offer a range of health services and help ease pressure on busy hospital emergency departments by treating non-urgent conditions.

How many patients are seen within the agreed triage timeframes?

Waiting times in South Australia’s Emergency Departments are continuing to improve.

According to the most recent statistics, the median waiting time for triage in SA has decreased to 20 minutes, from 27 minutes, in 2008 to 2009.

More patients are also being treated within the recommended time, with SA experiencing a seven percent improvement in the past two years.

In 2009 to 2010, 100% of category one patients were treated within agreed triage timeframes for their urgency category.

How do SA’s statistics compare to the rest of Australia?

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s MyHospitals website includes comparisons on national public hospital performance statistics for waiting times for elective surgery and Emergency Department care.

When should people go to the Emergency Department?

Emergency Departments are for emergencies. Anyone who needs emergency or urgent medical attention should call 000 as normal.

Anyone who does not require urgent care should visit their GP or phone Healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222 for assistance.

What health services are available if I do not require urgent medical attention?

There are a number of health services in the community that people can access for non-urgent medical care. They include General Practitioners, GP Plus health care centres, GP Plus super clinics and other community health services.

SA Health has committed to establishing up to ten GP Plus health care centres and two GP Plus super clinics in the metropolitan area, as well as centres in country South Australia.

GP Plus Health care centres are already open at Aldinga, Elizabeth, Morphett Vale and Woodville and construction has begun on the centres at Ceduna and Marion. GP Plus super clinics have also opened in Modbury and Noarlunga.

These new centres provide a range of services to better respond to the health needs of local communities.

People can find a list of all the health service available in their local area through the SA health web site: www.sahealth.sa.gov.au

Will country hospitals be included in the dashboard?

Country Health SA data for the ED dashboard is currently under development and is expected to be made available on the website in the future.

Why is the ED dashboard system not displaying the most up-to-date data?

Updates may be less frequent or unavailable due to unforseen technical reasons or scheduled system maintenance. If an error message is displayed, please try again at another time.

Due to limitations in many web browsers (i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome), the dashboard may not automatically refresh.  Please refer to your particular browsers help in order to disable caching and reloading of web pages.

What if the ED dashboard is unavailable?

The dashboard may be unavailable due to unforseen technical reasons or scheduled system maintenance. If an error message is displayed, please try again at another time.

What if I can’t see the ED dashboard?

The ED dashboard system requires a minimum of Flash Player version 9 to view. The latest version of Flash Player can be freely downloaded from the Adobe Flash Player Support Centre.

If you are unable to use Flash Player and want a copy of the data in an alternative format, please contact us on communications@health.sa.gov.au.

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