DES PLAINES, Ill., July 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) today released a statement denouncing the use of "Mystery Shoppers," people who are sent to the emergency department with a fake injury or illness in order to test customer-service. The statement, endorsed by the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM), states the practice is not only dangerous and detrimental to quality care, but unnecessary since other more effective, less intrusive methods exist to gauge customer satisfaction. "Emergency departments around the country are at the breaking point," said Denise King, RN, MSN, CEN, 2008 ENA president. "The last thing emergency departments need is fake patients with fake symptoms taking up the time and resources of the emergency healthcare team while real patients with real illnesses are waiting to receive the care they need." "For example, if mystery shoppers come to the emergency department faking stroke symptoms, they are likely to get a CT scan and blood tests. That takes the time of doctors, nurses, radiology technicians and laboratory technicians. In the meantime, other patients with real illnesses won't have access to that scanner and will have to wait longer for a nurse or doctor until this perfectly healthy person gets done with his or her charade. That's not just wrong, it's dangerous," added King. According to the statement, both ENA and AAEM believe that "service excellence is an essential component of providing emergency care that is safe, effective, patient- and family-centered, timely, efficient and equitable." However, the statement cites safer alternatives to mystery shoppers that can be used to more effectively measure customer satisfaction in an emergency department. For example, customer satisfaction surveys or direct observation studies are safer and more appropriate means by which to garner information regarding service issues. "It is irresponsible to delay care to real patients to gather customer-service data when better methods for gathering that data exist," said AAEM President Larry D. Weiss, MD, JD, FAAEM. "Why would anyone put patients at risk when proven alternatives are available?" For more information about this statement, call Anthony Phipps at (847) 460-4054 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To download a copy of the statement, go to http://www.ena.org/news/releases/ About the Emergency Nurses Association The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA serves as the voice of more than 34,000 members and their patients through research, publications, professional development, injury prevention and patient education. Additional information is available at ENA's Web site: http://www.ena.org. About the AAEM The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) is the specialty society of emergency medicine representing more than 5,000 members. Fellows of AAEM are certified by either the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) or the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM). AAEM supports fair and equitable practice environments necessary to allow the specialist in emergency medicine to deliver the highest quality of patient care. Visit http://www.aaem.org for more information.
SOURCE Emergency Nurses Association