Gain ER Efficiencies by Improving Care for Behavioral Health Patients

Faced with a surge of behavioral health patients presenting to the emergency department, Vituity physicians developed the Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI) toolkit designed to deliver appropriate and compassionate care.

Published June 21, 2023


Minimize ER wait times and care delays

Most emergency departments are ill-equipped to treat patients in psychiatric crisis. They often endure long wait times and delays in therapeutic care, leading to department-wide backups for all patients in the ER.


Enhance care for these patients through Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI)

Vituity brought together a multidisciplinary team of emergency physicians and psychiatrists who developed the Emergency Psychiatric Intervention (EPI) toolkit. EPI ensures that emergency physicians are empowered to more efficiently evaluate and treat behavioral health patients from the moment they enter the emergency department through discharge.

At its core, the EPI approach includes expertise and proven results in three areas:

  • Elimination of over-processing
  • Risk stratification and split flow processing
  • Early and appropriate medication management

Patients receive earlier assessments and differentiated care based on the diagnosed need, thereby minimizing patient holding and improving care quality and patient experience.

43-minute decrease in time-to-provider across four hospitals


Better, faster care for all emergency department patients

EPI was first piloted at four Ascension hospital locations in and around Chicago. Before implementation, all sites experienced high volumes of behavioral health patients in their Emergency departments, but they achieved remarkable results within six months after implementing EPI.

Teams dramatically improved the quality of care and achieved faster throughput times, leading to measurable financial ROI for the health system. Additionally, they accomplished:

  • 43-minute decrease in time-to-provider across four hospitals
  • Use of restraints reduced by over 50%
  • $480,000 ROI for the health system

When we effectively and compassionately serve all emergency department patients, the impact is profound:

  • Hospitals and health systems improve clinical quality, profitability, and patient scores
  • Emergency departments achieve higher throughput and better care for all, with fewer behavioral patient admissions and more stable, engaged staff
  • Providers gain new confidence in their ability to heal, rekindling the joy of practicing medicine

As validation for this innovative approach, Vituity was recognized in 2021 by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).


Originally published June 16, 2022

Partnering to improve patient lives

Vituity branding with wave pattern footer