Karen MurrellChief of Emergency Medicine
Dr. Murrell is currently Physician Lead for Emergency Medicine for Kaiser Northern California. In this role she oversees the twenty-one Kaiser emergency departments in Northern California. She is also the Assistant Physician in Chief of Process Improvement at Kaiser South Sacramento in Sacramento, California. She served as the Chief of Emergency Medicine from 2008-2012 until she assumed her current roles. Dr. Murrell has extensive experience in Hospital and Emergency Department management and practice with over thirty years of experience in a variety of role. In 2009, she graduated from the Physician Executive MBA Program at the University of Tennessee.
In her current role, Dr. Murrell has focused on innovative approaches to patient flow in both the Emergency Department and inpatient hospital. Using lean methodology, changes were made in departmental flow that resulted in markedly decreased time to physician and length of stay in the department with decreased “left without being seen rates”. She has decreased hospital length of stay, and worked on processes that have effectively eliminated ED boarding. The processes that were developed at Kaiser South Sacramento have been replicated across 21 hospitals in Northern California and have contributed to improved financial performance across the organization. Using queuing methodology she has been able to impact the patient length of stay and to reliably predict staffing needs. Dr. Murrell is currently faculty at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Emergency Medicine Operations Conference and is adjunct faculty at the University of Tennessee Physician MBA program. She has also presented her work at the American College of Emergency Physicians Annual Meeting, the European Emergency Medicine Conference, and at the Academic Emergency Medicine Conference. She is co-author of “The Big Book of Emergency Psychiatry” and has published articles on use of Lean Methodology and Operations to improve Emergency Department Flow.