Hospitals have implemented innovative strategies to address overcrowding by optimizing patient flow through the emergency department (ED). Vertical split flow refers to the concept of assigning patients to vertical chairs instead of horizontal beds based on patient acuity.


      Evaluate the impact of vertical split flow implementation on ED Emergency Severity Index (ESI) level 3, patient length of stay, and throughput at a community hospital.


      Retrospective cohort study of all ESI level 3 patients presenting to a community hospital ED over a 3-month period prior to and after vertical split flow implementation between 2018 and 2019.


      In total, data were collected from 10,638 patient visits: 5262 and 5376 patient visits pre- and postintervention, respectively. There was a significant reduction in mean overall length of stay when ESI-3 patients were triaged with vertical split flow (251 min vs 283 min, p < 0.001).


      Community hospital ED implementation of vertical split flow for ESI level 3 patients was associated with a significant reduction in overall length of stay and improved throughput. This model provides a solution to increase the number of patients that can be simultaneously cared for in the ED without increasing staffing or physical space.


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