Use Data to Predict Emergency Department Staffing Needs

Use Data to Predict Emergency Department Staffing Needs

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia improved staffing efficiency in the emergency department with data, role clarification and flexibility.
Quick Takes

  • CHOP begins staffing planning by establishing a budget that matches projected volumes.
  • The hospital celebrated a record high volume in fiscal year 2019 with over 100,000 visits.
  • CHOP assigned social workers and the psychiatry team to manage length of stay in the ED.

Emergency department (ED) managers face staffing challenges due to the nature of the department—people usually don’t plan a trip to the ED. Since most patients arrive in the ED unexpectedly, it may appear as though managers have to plan staffing without insight into patient volume variation.

ED managers often wish they had a crystal ball to make predictions. At Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) a team has found the next best thing, using data to uncover trends in care, predict when to expect variation in volume and determine how to staff for volume change. The team can see how patient volume may rise and fall months at a time or on a seasonal basis. Volume on each day of the week can have a pattern too.

CHA analysts compared four staffing criteria from PROSPECT to identify high-performing pediatric EDs, and CHOP emerged as one of the top four hospitals.


This data set facilitates appropriate staffing standards while helping reduce costs and maintain viability in the marketplace.

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