Download our case study: Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center Nurse Navigator Program Uses MEDITECH’s EHR to Steer ED to $475,000 Annual Cost Savings


About: Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center (Sioux Falls, SD) is a HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 recipient and five-time designated Magnet® facility. The 545-bed tertiary hospital is the flagship of Avera Health, a 37-hospital system spanning five states. In 2021, Avera Health was recognized by CHIME as a HealthCare’s Most Wired organization, earning the highest status of Level 10.

Challenge: Nurses in Avera McKennan’s emergency department identified a segment of their patient population frequently using the ED for nonemergent situations, a problem faced by EDs across the United States. Avera nurses took this challenge head-on by implementing a nurse‐driven care manager program.

Execution: The ED nurse navigator program focuses on patients considered “super utilizers” by providing personalized care management extending beyond the ED. After working through the process on paper, these ED nurses enlisted Avera’s IT team to automate the documentation in MEDITECH. IT staff maximized MEDITECH’s integration, documentation, and clinical decision support tools to capture all the data electronically and embed alerts within the registration and documentation processes, improving communication and continuity of care within the ED.

Results: The ED nurse navigator program leverages the power of electronic data to make a real difference in patients’ lives. MEDITECH’s EHR provides the ED nurse navigator with a bird’s eye view of what’s happening with the program’s patient population so they can observe emerging trends. Here are the results of Avera’s ED nurse navigator program: 

  • 78% decline in ED visits by program participants 
  • $475,000 reduction in cost of care for program participants 
  • 13.7% decrease in nonemergent ED visits 
  • 68% patient follow-up compliance, which is well above the Magnet® hospital compliance average of 25%-40% 

With the success of Avera McKennan’s ED nurse navigator program, Avera Health has begun implementing the program across its entire network. The initiative is easily replicated using tools already available within MEDITECH to automate a standardized nurse navigator toolkit. As the program expands, Avera will continue to use the data to further refine the program.