Improving patient flow

The Emergency Medicine Foundation has announced a new research program in partnership with Queensland Health to address major issues affecting the flow of patients in hospital emergency departments.

Patient flow is a whole of health system issue. Hospital overcrowding and lack of available beds can significantly delay patient flow in emergency departments (ED), increasing the wait time for new patients.

EMF Chair, Dr Kim Hansen said that most hospitals are seeing record patient numbers and they just don’t have the staff or beds to manage the influx.

“With ambulance ramping and longer wait times likely, more patients leave the ED before receiving urgent medical treatment as frontline staff are confronted with increasing pressure,” said Dr Hansen.


To help address the issue, EMF is collaborating with Queensland Health’s Healthcare Improvement Unit at Clinical Excellence Queensland on a major research program seeking effective and evidence-based solutions.

Jointly funded by EMF and Queensland Health, the Improving Patient Flow in Queensland Public Hospitals program will take two parallel approaches.

A whole-of-system study to establish the magnitude of factors leading to challenges with emergency access in Queensland public hospitals has been launched, with research teams invited to submit proposals by 27 June, 2022.

A competitive Special Funding Round will follow to support clinician-led projects aiming to improve patient flow and reduce hospital crowding.


EMF General Manager Beth Chapman said the new program has been designed to create sustainable change within hospital EDs.

“Clinician-led research that is focused on improving system efficiency, supporting frontline staff and enhancing care for patients is crucial,” said Beth.

“We are grateful for the additional funding support from Queensland Health responding to the needs of emergency healthcare clinicians caring for patients and managing the growing demands of the health system, supporting research at a time it is needed most.”

EMF programs focus on translational research with genuine potential to improve clinical practice in the short-term, while delivering significant economic benefits to the healthcare system.

More information about the Improving Patient Flow in Queensland Public Hospitals program is available here, or by contacting the EMF Research Team on (07) 3720 5700 or email grants@emfoundation.org.au.


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