Staffing Calculator

This staffing calculator helps determine the number of providers (physicians and non-physicians), nurses, and technicians necessary to staff comprehensive emergency departments (EDs), freestanding emergency departments (FEDs), and immediate care centers (ICs) based on four primary inputs.

  • Enter the site volume as the daily or the annual number of cases.   
  • Enter the PX and SX performance goals - high, average, or low using the drop-down list.
    Note: After clicking 'PX/SX,' you will see an arrow and pop-up that reads 'Expand Data Validation List' (see picture below)​. Click the arrow to view the drop-down list.
  • Enter the shift being analyzed - day, evening, or night - using the drop-down list.
  • Enter the site setting - ED, FED, or IC - using the drop-down list.
The staffing level outputs are based on several assumptions used in background calculations. Most of these assumptions can be changed.
  • For EDs and FEDs, day, evening, and night shifts are assumed to be eight hours in length, and that the patient influx is such that one-third of patients are seen during the day, one-half during the evening, and one-sixth at night. This distribution is configurable. For ICs, a 12-hour shift each day with an evenly spread volume is assumed.
  • The emergency severity index (ESI) is a system that triages patients into five acuity groups. Since ESI 1s and ESI 5s are sparse, this model. Proper application of the ESI rules is expected. One can infer ESI accuracy by analyzing admission/transfer rates. The expected ranges are 40-50% for emergent cases (ESI 1 and 2 combined), 15-25% for urgent cases (ESI 3), and 1% for non-urgent cases (ESI 4 and 5 combined).
  • An ESI “weighted average” is a metric whereby a lower value represents higher acuity. Typical levels are 2.9 for EDs, 3.3 for FEDs, and 3.8 for ICs. These assignments are configurable.
  • Workload units (WLU) represent the relative effort to care for a patient based on the assigned ESI. A one-year analysis at a Chicago-area hospital system used charges to determine the relative workload by ESI. These values were verified by a large academic hospital in North Carolina verified these values in North Carolina. This investigation demonstrated that emergent cases have a workload of 1.4, urgent cases of 1.0, and non-urgent cases of 0.7. So, on average, one ESI 2 case requires the same work effort as two ESI 4 cases. These values are configurable.
  • The maximum workload per hour (WLH) for providers correlates with PX and SX. WLH above 2 degrades PX and SX. These values are configurable.
  • Once provider staffing is determined, the number of nurses and technicians is generated based on suggested ratios, which are configurable. The ratio of nurses to technicians is fixed at 2:1.
Basing productivity on ESI promotes practice efficiency (turnaround time in the clinical area for discharged patients) and judicious ordering. For instance, a patient with chest pain and a low HEART score may be sent home by one physician after a basic workup and admitted by another after an extensive workup. These patients have the same WLH and estimated RVU/hour. The low admitter would appear less productive If actual RVUs (based on billing/coding) were used. Incenting productivity using WLH or estimated RVU/hour makes sense as fee-for-service models shift to population management.

The recommended number of providers is reported in tenths, so the need for shift overlaps is appreciated. For instance, 2.5 providers are accommodated by staffing two during the entire shift and a third during the busiest 4 hours.

Users can change the calculation assumptions and use the Restore button to return to the original values.

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