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Tuesday November 22, 2022

Making a List, Checking it Twice: Tips for Preparing Your Emergency Room for the Holiday Rush

If you work in healthcare, you’ve probably watched at least one episode of Scrubs, a sitcom from the early 2000s that followed an ensemble of doctors and staff at the fictional Sacred Heart Hospital.

If you were a fan of the show, you might remember an unusually poignant episode in which a young surgeon named Turk is determined to maintain his holiday cheer throughout a notoriously trying time for hospital staff: Christmas Eve. As the episode progresses, an increasingly downtrodden Turk is called to respond to a litany of worsening medical emergencies, illustrated by a darkly off-beat rendition of “The 12 days of Christmas.”

While Turk’s faith in the holiday spirit is eventually restored, his plight is one all too familiar for emergency department (ED) staff.

As one of the most frenetic times of the year, the holidays often represent a significant uptick in injuries. With millions traveling, cooking, erecting elaborate decorations, and scrambling to buy the latest toys, EDs around the country will begin to see increased patient volumes from all manner of merriment-related calamity.

In this post, we’ll explore some strategies and innovative ED workflow tools to help alleviate the holiday influx and give your staff something to be thankful for.

3 Ways to Prepare Your Emergency Department for the Holiday Rush

Personal commitments coming up against professional challenges significantly contribute to physician burnout in the fall and winter months. What’s worse, mismanaging the seasonal rush can reflect poorly on an emergency department’s CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) grades, creating a holiday hangover that can follow your health system long after the mistletoe comes down.

With Christmas just around the corner, a comprehensive solution to the seasonal increase in ER visits should be at the top of every CNO and ED director’s wish list. Luckily, we’ve compiled some helpful info on three key areas where you can streamline patient throughput:


The first place to start improving the flow of your ER is visibility. Without a clear picture of patient, clinician, and bed statuses, it’s challenging to know what areas can or should be optimized.

During the rest of the year, it might be business as usual for the admissions coordinators to get up from their desk to seek out updates. Over the holidays, however, they’ll likely be tied to a workstation, and clinicians will be too busy going between beds to stop for a sit rep.

By implementing an EHR-supported, comprehensive analytics solution, hospital staff can see real-time workflow status updates supplemented by predictive analysis. Examining data trends may also help emergency departments to forecast how many beds will be available during peak times and adjust staffing to reduce bottlenecks.


When contending with everything from falls off rickety ladders to devastating, seconds to minutes emergencies, communication between ED team members needs to be seamless throughout the entire continuum of care. Paper-based and manual systems are notorious for creating congestion; physical documents can be misplaced, lost, or overlooked. Sometimes, figuring out what’s happening in the ED may even boil down to deciphering handwritten notes on a whiteboard.

Emergency departments should examine how information is provided on a regular basis, especially before the holiday season. Emergency directors must identify communication breakdowns and obstructions at each step of treatment. Once recognized, standardized communication protocols can aid in the removal of these impediments.


While automation cannot totally eliminate human error in an ED procedure, it can help to lessen the impact on care completion.

An intelligent platform with predictive technologies incorporated into a digital system can offer a centralized touchpoint for automatic communication and process visibility. An effective Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) demands less hands-on involvement, helps with time management, and optimizes the entire continuum of care.


MEDHOST EDIS can improve communication, automate workflows, improve patient throughput, and boost patient satisfaction scores. Designed by physicians and nurses, the system supports workflow efficiency and patient safety by eliminating drop-down menus, unnecessary screens, confusing dialogue boxes, and excessive keystrokes.

To learn more about how MEDHOST EDIS allows you to unwrap increased ED efficiency, call us at 1.800.383.6278 or email

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